Vocal Lyricism of Vatroslav Lisinski and Ferdo Livadić in Europe's Context

  • Koraljka Kos


The present study first draws parallels between the comprehensive ballads of Vatroslav Lisinski (1819–1854) and those of Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg (1760–1802). Proceeding from the tradition of the Zumsteeg ballad (which served as learning material to young Schubert as well), the ballads by Lisinski transcend the additive conception of Zumsteeg's pieces. The compositional techniques by means of which Lisinski aimed at uniting the disparate segments of the rather large lyrico-dramatic work are fairly diverse, displaying, however, characteristic "leitmotives" as a constant in the piano part. In his mature age as a composer, Lisinski cultivated the transstanzaic Lied consisting of the differentiated correlations of the vocal and piano parts. Ferdo Livadić (Wiesner) (1799–1879) tried to create a mere lyrical atmosphere through which the lines of poetry would flow, which puts him in a position close to the aesthetic ideals set by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Livadić cultivated simple, mostly stanzaic, romance of a continuing and synchronized flow of the vocal part and the piano accompaniment. A set of songs written by Livadić to some German texts, probably during his student years at Graz (1816–1822), testifies to his affinity for the three-beat rhythm and the bel canto singability of the vocal part. Livadić employed this model in his piano Notturno (1822) most successfully. The conclusion drawn is that the common early-Romantic stylistic denominator of the vocal lyricism of Lisinski and Livadić can never conceal their different conceptions of musical style and the use of the means of expression, which links the two composers to two different currents of European early-Romantic Lied: while Livadić followed the tradition of the pre-Schubertian, proto-Romantic solo-song to join the circle of the "little masters" active in the late 18th and early 19th century, Lisinski held a position closer to that of the classic author of Romanticism, Schubert.


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How to Cite
KosK. (1989). Vocal Lyricism of Vatroslav Lisinski and Ferdo Livadić in Europe’s Context. Musicological Annual, 25(1), 55-66. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.25.1.55-66