Music as Thought: Listening to the Symphony in the Age of Beethoven

Music as Thought: Listening to the Symphony in the Age of Beethoven

by Mark Evan Bonds
Pub. Date:
Princeton University Press
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Music as Thought: Listening to the Symphony in the Age of Beethoven

"Through the lucid presentation of many diverse sources and the close reading of several central documents, Music as Thought establishes the cultural force of listening to music in the age of Beethoven. The result is a compelling story with a fresh polemical spin."—Scott Burnham, Princeton University

"Music as Thought navigates the discursive space of nineteenth-century German symphonies, and Beethoven's symphonic music especially, between the pointedly apolitical metaphysics of 'absolute music,' and the explicit political appropriation of these works in the service of emerging German nationalism. It is hard to imagine a topic that would be more central to current musicological discourse."—Alexander Rehding, Harvard University

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691126593
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 08/07/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

List of Abbreviations xxi

PROLOGUE: An Unlikely Genre: The Rise of the Symphony 1

CHAPTER ONE: Listening with Imagination: The Revolution in Aesthetics 5

From Kant to Hoffmann 6

Idealism and the Changing Perception of Perception 10

Idealism and the New Aesthetics of Listening 22

CHAPTER TWO: Listening as Thinking: From Rhetoric to Philosophy 29

Listening in a Rhetorical Framework 30

Listening in a Philosophical Framework 33

Art as Philosophy 37

CHAPTER THREE: Listening to Truth: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony 44

The Infinite Sublime 45

History as Knowing 50

The Synthesis of Conscious and Unconscious 53

Organic Coherence 55

Beyond the Sublime 57

CHAPTER FOUR: Listening to the Aesthetic State: Cosmopolitanism 63

The Communal Voice of the Symphony 63

The Imperatives of Individual and Social Synthesis 68

The State as Organism 71

Schiller's Idea of the Aesthetic State 73

Goethe's Pedagogical Province 75

CHAPTER FIVE: Listening to the German State: Nationalism 79

German Nationalism 79

The Symphony as a "German" Genre 88

The Performance Politics of the Music Festival 92

The Symphony as Democracy 99

EPILOGUE: Listening to Form: The Refuge of Absolute Music 104

Notes 117

Bibliography 153

Index 167

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