Transposition in Jonathan Larson's Rentpurchase PDF
Authors: Ian Nisbet
Jonathan Larson,Rent,Giacomo Puccini,La Bohéme,Musetta's Waltz,'Light My Candle'
In composing La Bohéme, based on the novel Scénes de la vie Bohéme/Bohemians of the Latin Quarter by Henry Murger, Giacomo Puccini used musical themes symbolic of characters, emotions and settings. Jonathan Larson also based Rent on Murger's novel, and the characters, plot and themes of both the opera and musical are close to identical. Larson signposted a clear motivic connection to La Bohéme within Rent and this led to the development of my hypotheses: that Larson transposed a number of Puccini's themes into Rent; that he was aware of their symbolism; that the 'Musetta's Waltz' transposition was the most important transposition from La Bohéme to Rent; and that the transpositions applied to the 'Musetta's Waltz' theme throughout Rent were the most dramatically significant. This study compares the scores and musical themes of both works in an attempt to establish Larson's intention behind the transpositions.