The Composition of Ernest Chausson’s Poème in the Art of the Fin de Siècle

Keywords: Ernest Chausson, Poème, decadence, Oscar Wilde, Dance of the Seven Veils, Song of Triumphant Love, Ivan Turgenev, fin de siècle


The present article proposes examining Ernest Chausson’s Poème for violin as a composition permeated with the atmosphere of the art of the end of the century — the fin de siècle. Stemming from a special stylistic color and originality of the musical form, the author of the work sets forth the hypothesis of the narrative element in the theatrical play which influenced its composition. At the center of the research lies the structural-semantic analysis of the
Poème accords with the storyline motives of Oscar Wilde’s drama Salome. The angle of interpretation of Ernest Chausson’s play is determined by a number of factors that provide with significant foundations to consider the hypothesis to be significant. One of them is chronological, and according to it the Poème was created literally “following” the premiere production of Wilde’s play in Paris. The other is aesthetic-stylistic, and it connects together in a remarkable way the semantic elements of the literary and musical texts. What is meant here is the genre-related episode of the Poème, significant in the symbolic sense, which demonstrates most distinctively the connection between the two works — Salome’s dance.

The Art of Music