Silke Felber

»Auf Verschwundenen stehend, läuft uns unser Leben voraus«.

Zur ästhetischen und politischen Dimension des Alter(n)s in Franz Schuberts und Elfriede Jelineks Winterreise

Abstract: The tendency to read Jelinek’s Winterreise in an autobiographical way is prevalent in the fields of both theatre-practical and academic reception. However, in limiting the scope of the piece strictly to the author’s confrontation with her father’s death and her own ageing, one does not seem to do full justice to this work’s multi-perspectival dimensions. Jelinek’s recourse to Schubert’s music and the motifs of his Winterreise uncover the phenomenon of age and ageing as a political metaphor. In this way the seemingly incoherent allusions to current events, philosophical concepts and reflections on disease and deportation, which pervade Jelinek’s Winterreise become obvious. In particular this article argues that it is less Müller’s poems than the musical semantics resulting from the scoring of Schubert’s work, which Jelinek processes or destructs, whereby various leitmotifs of ageing are invoked in the song cycle.

© Silke Felber 2015

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