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Music aesthetics in late eighteenth-century Germany has always been problematic because there was no aesthetic theory to evaluate the enormous amount of high-quality instrumental music produced by composers like Haydn and Mozart. This book derives a practical aesthetic for German instrumental music during the late eighteenth century from a previously neglected source, reviews of printed instrumental works. At a time when the theory of mimesis dominated aesthetic thought, leaving sonatas and symphonies at the very bottom of the aesthetic hierarchy, a group of reviewers were quietly setting about the task of evaluating instrumental music on its own terms. The reviews document an intersection with trends in literature and philosophy, and reveal interest in criteria like genius, the expressive power of music, and the necessity of unity, several decades earlier than has previously been supposed.
In her study of nearly 400 Rheinlieder published during the 1840s -- including the works of Schumann, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Wagner -- Cecelia Hopkins Porter shows how the French threat to take the Rhine transformed the river into a metaphor for the German nationalistic spirit. Combining incisive musical analysis with broader historical and cultural perspectives, she discusses a variety of related Rhine images, the musical style of the Rheinlieder, and public musical life of the period, illuminating the deep relationship of this body of music to social changes that occurred during the German Romantic period.
Following their entry into Austria and the Sudetenland in the late 1930s, the Germans attempted to impose a policy of cultural imperialism on the countries they went on to occupy during World War II. Almost all music institutions in the occupied lands came under direct German control or were subject to severe scrutiny and censorship, the prime objective being to change the musical fabric of these nations and force them to submit to the strictures of Nazi ideology. This pioneering collection of essays is the first in the English language to look in more detail at the musical consequences of German occupation during a dark period in European history. It embraces a wide range of issues, presenting case studies involving musical activity in a number of occupied European cities, as well as in countries that were part of the Axis or had established close diplomatic relations with Germany. The wartime careers and creative outputs of individual musicians who were faced with the dilemma of either complying with or resisting the impositions of the occupiers are explored. In addition, there is some reflection on the post-war implications of German occupation for the musical environment in Europe. Music under German Occupation is written for all music-lovers, students, professionals and academics who have particular interests in 20th-century music and/or the vicissitudes of European cultural life during World War II.
A few weeks after the reunification of Germany, Leonard Bernstein raised his baton above the ruins of the Berlin Wall and conducted a special arrangement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The central statement of the work, that "all men will be brothers," captured the sentiment of those who saw abrighter future for the newly reunited nation. This now-iconic performance is a palpable example of "musical monumentality" - a significant concept which underlies our cultural and ideological understanding of Western art music since the nineteenth-century. Although the concept was first raised inthe earliest years of musicological study in the 1930s, a satisfying exploration of the "monumental" in music has not yet been made. Alexander Rehding, one of the brightest young stars in the field, takes on the task in Resounding Monumentality, an elegant, thorough treatment that will serve as afoundation for all future discussion in this area.
Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most unfathomable composers in the history of music. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who (when we can discern his personality at all) seems so ordinary, so opaque--and occasionally so intemperate? John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing one of the only two authentic portraits of Bach every morning and evening on the stairs of his parents' house, where it hung for safety during World War II. He has been studying and performing Bach ever since, and is now regarded as one of the composer's greatest living interpreters. The fruits of this lifetime's immersion are distilled in this remarkable book, grounded in the most recent Bach scholarship but moving far beyond it, and explaining in wonderful detail the ideas on which Bach drew, how he worked, how his music is constructed, how it achieves its effects--and what it can tell us about Bach the man.
Philosopher Marcel Hébert developed his Religious Experience in the Work of Richard Wagner (1895) from this background of sustained popular interest in Wagner, an interest that had intensified with the return of his operas to the Paris stage. Newspaper debates about the impact of Wagner's ideas on French society often stressed the links between Wagner and religion. These debates inspired works like Hébert's, intended to explain the complex myth and allegory in Wagner's work and to elucidate it for a new generation of French spectators.
Who inspired Johannes Brahms in his art of writing music? In this book, Jacquelyn E. C. Sholes provides a fresh look at the ways in which Brahms employed musical references to works of earlier composers in his own instrumental music. By analyzing newly identified allusions alongside previously known musical references in works such as the B-Major Piano Trio, the D-Major Serenade, the First Piano Concerto, and the Fourth Symphony, among others, Sholes demonstrates how a historical reference in one movement of a work seems to resonate meaningfully, musically, and dramatically with material in other movements in ways not previously recognized. She highlights Brahms's ability to weave such references into broad, movement-spanning narratives, arguing that these narratives served as expressive outlets for his complicated, sometimes conflicted, attitudes toward the material to which he alludes. Ultimately, Brahms's music reveals both the inspiration and the burden that established masters such as Domenico Scarlatti, J. S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner, and especially Beethoven represented for him as he struggled to emerge with his own artistic voice and to define and secure his unique position in music history.
Jan Swafford's biographies of Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms have established him as a revered music historian, capable of bringing his subjects vibrantly to life. His magnificent new biography of Ludwig van Beethoven peels away layers of legend to get to the living, breathing human being who composed some of the world's most iconic music. Swafford mines sources never before used in English-language biographies to reanimate the revolutionary ferment of Enlightenment-era Bonn,where Beethoven grew up and imbibed the ideas that would shape all of his future work. Swafford then tracks his subject to Vienna, capital of European music, where Beethoven built his career in the face of critical incomprehension, crippling ill health, romantic rejection, and "fate's hammer," his ever-encroaching deafness. Throughout, Swafford offers insightful readings of Beethoven's key works. More than a decade in the making, this will be the standard Beethoven biography for years to come.