Unfinished Music

Unfinished Music

by Richard Kramer

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Unfinished Music by Richard Kramer

Unfinished Music draws its inspiration from the riddling aphorism by Walter Benjamin that serves as its epigraph: "the work is the death mask of its conception." The work in its finished, perfected state conceals the enlivening process engaged in its creation. Author Richard Kramer moves from some explosive ideas of J. G. Hamann,, on the place of language at the seat of thought, to explore the no less radical music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whose bold idiosyncrasies, like Hamann's, disrupted the discourse of Enlightenment aesthetics. In several chapters on the late music of Beethoven, Bach reappears, a spiritual alter ego in the search for a new voice. Music seductively unfinished lies at the center of the book: unstudied late sketches, finally rejected, for a famous quartet movement by Beethoven; the enigmas set loose in several remarkable Mozart fragments; the romanticizing of fragment and its bearing on two important sonatas that Schubert left incomplete. Finally, the author returns to Benjamin's epigraph, drawing together his essay on Goethe's Elective Affinities, Mann's Death in Venice, and the draft for a difficult passage in the andantino of Schubert's Sonata in A (1828).

Unfinished Music explores with subtle insight the uneasy relationship between the finished work and the elusive, provocative traces of the profound labors buried in its past. The book will appeal to music scholars, theorists and performers , indeed to all for whom music is integral to the history of ideas.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199917884
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/29/2012
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 422
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Richard Kramer is the author of Distant Cycles: Schubert and the Conceiving of Song, awarded the Kinkeldey prize of the American Musicological Society and an ASCAP-Deems Taylor prize, and of many essays on the music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Beethoven, and Schubert. Kramer, who teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

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