Bela Bartok

Aural Influences

Amy Lowell's poetry shows a strong musical influence. In fact, Lowell presented a lecture entitled "Some Musical Analogies in Modern Poetry" at Harvard University (the first woman invited to such an honor) and again at Columbia University. The impression left was so strong that the lecture was published as an article in the Musical Quarterly in June, 1920.

Lowell maintained a music room at Sevenels in which she hosted musicales and personally approved the works performed. Featured at these events were modern piano works by comtemporary composers such as Eric Satie and Claude Debussy. The improvisational nature of compositions like Satie's "Gymnopede" and Debussy's "Claire de Lune" was a natural counterpart to poetry's verse libre.

One Lowell poem shows a direct musical influence: "After a Waltz by Bartok" was allegedly written just then, the words inspired by the clangorous music of the Hungarian composer and pianist. Click here to hear an excerpt from Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra.


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