‹ La question sans réponse › : programmatique ou analogie structurelle ?

Anna Pevoski


This article explores possible links relating the composition The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem “The Sphinx”. It starts from the observation that the title of the former is a quote drawn from the latter, and the established knowledge that the 20th-century New England composer was deeply interested in and influenced by the 19th-century movement of transcendentalism, in general, and the poet-philosopher Emerson, as one of its most famous exponents, in particular. Highlighting characteristically transcendentalist aspects in Emerson’s text, as well as its marked meta-poetic or meta-artistic dimension, it goes on to examine how these aspects might manifest themselves in Ives’ piece of music, taking into account programmatic aspects of the latter as well as potential structural analogies, and focusing on a possible meta-artistic interpretation of the
brief composition.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15203/ATeM_2020_2.08


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