JAVS Summer 2023

Figure 12: “Le Rossignol,” mm. 1-2.

The viola is an equal partner with the voice as it has much melodic material and minimal ornamentation. Loeffler takes advantage of the viola’s varied tonal palette by using ponticello . This technique easily encapsulates the

icy, disheartened quality that is needed for “the tree that quivers and the bird that weeps” and is heightened by his musical indication of smorzando .

Figure 13: “Le Rossignol,” mm. 86-90.

musical elements to create atmosphere and evoke feeling. Loeffler’s travels and love for Paris merged with his German musical training and influence from America to create a compositional style all on his own. Loeffler masterfully illustrates Verlaine’s poetry through diverse textures and various extended technical devices for the viola such as: ponticello, glissando, harmonics, pizzicato at the bridge, and more. These imaginative works for viola, voice, and piano not only provide a unique and colorful insight into Loeffler’s life and compositional style but also represent a significant addition to the chamber repertoire for the viola.

Conclusion Both Loeffler and Verlaine had experienced unfortunate events in their personal lives which profoundly influenced their works and consequently, the musical and literary movements of the time. The imprisonment and death of Loeffler’s father transported him into a deep depression that inspired the use of the Dies Irae in many of his compositions while Verlaine’s alcoholism and sexuality set him on a violent and tortured path. These life events impacted both of their writing styles and invoked the dark subject matter representative of the Decadent movement. Furthermore, aspects of the Symbolist movement are demonstrated by utilizing

Journal of the American Viola Society / Vol. 39, Summer 2023 Online Issue


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