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Classical Music and Postmodern Knowledge

Classical Music and Postmodern Knowledge

by Lawrence Kramer
Classical Music and Postmodern Knowledge

Classical Music and Postmodern Knowledge

by Lawrence Kramer

Paperback(First Edition)

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A leading cultural theorist and musicologist opens up new possibilities for understanding mainstream Western art music—the "classical" music composed between the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries that is, for many, losing both its prestige and its appeal. When this music is regarded esoterically, removed from real-world interests, it increasingly sounds more evasive than transcendent. Now Lawrence Kramer shows how classical music can take on new meaning and new life when approached from postmodernist standpoints.

Kramer draws out the musical implications of contemporary efforts to understand reason, language, and subjectivity in relation to concrete human activities rather than to universal principles. Extending the rethinking of musical expression begun in his earlier Music as Cultural Practice, he regards music not only as an object that invites aesthetic reception but also as an activity that vitally shapes the personal, social, and cultural identities of its listeners.

In language accessible to nonspecialists but informative to specialists, Kramer provides an original account of the postmodernist ethos, explains its relationship to music, and explores that relationship in a series of case studies ranging from Haydn and Mendelssohn to Ives and Ravel.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520207004
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 11/29/1996
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Lawrence Kramer teaches in the Humanities Department at Fordham University, Lincoln Center, and is an active composer. He has published two previous books with California: Music and Poetry: The Nineteenth Century and After (1984) and Music as Cultural Practice (1990). Both are available in paperback.

Table of Contents

List of Musical Examples and Figure 

1. Prospects
    Postmodernism and Musicology 
2. From the Other to the Abject
    Music as Cultural Trope 
3. Music and Representation
    In the Beginning with Haydn's Creation 
4. Musical Narratology
    A Theoretical Outline 
5. Felix Culpa
    Mendelssohn, Goethe, and the Social Force of Musical Expression 
6. The Lied as Cultural Practice
    Tutelage, Gender, and Desire in Mendelssohn's Goethe Songs 
7. Cultural Politics and Musical Form
    The Case of Charles Ives 
8. Consuming the Exotic
    Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe 
Autonomy, Elvis, Cinders, Fingering Bach 

Appendix: Mendelssohn: Three Goethe Songs 

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