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Three musical love letters

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Music, Shakespeare suggested, can be the "food of love". For a composer, however, it can be the vehicle for so much more. This article discusses, from a psychoanalytic perspective, how three pieces of music variously convey a declaration of triumphant adoration (Richard Wagner's Siegfried Idyll); an exploration of the pain of betrayal and reconciliation (Arnold Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht); and a confession of the joy and sorrow of unrequited love (Leoš Janáček's String Quartet No 2, Intimate Letters). The role of muse for a composer and the power of music for the listener as aspects of projective identification are also considered.
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Keywords: COUPLE FIT; JANÁČEK; LOVE LETTER; MUSE; PROJECTIVE IDENTIFICATION; PSYCHOANALYSIS; SCHOENBERG; WAGNER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • Couple and Family Psychoanalysis aim is to promote the theory and practice of working with couple and family relationships from a psychoanalytic perspective. It seeks to provide a forum for disseminating current ideas and research and for developing clinical practice.
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