The Danger of Music

The Danger of Music: And Other Anti-Utopian Essays

Richard Taruskin
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 512
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pp73q
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  • Book Info
    The Danger of Music
    Book Description:

    The Danger of Musicgathers some two decades of Richard Taruskin's writing on the arts and politics, ranging in approach from occasional pieces for major newspapers such as theNew York Timesto full-scale critical essays for leading intellectual journals. Hard-hitting, provocative, and incisive, these essays consider contemporary composition and performance, the role of critics and historians in the life of the arts, and the fraught terrain where ethics and aesthetics interact and at times conflict. Many of the works collected here have themselves excited wide debate, including the title essay, which considers the rights and obligations of artists in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a series of lively postscripts written especially for this volume, Taruskin, America's "public" musicologist, addresses the debates he has stirred up by insisting that art is not a utopian escape and that artists inhabit the same world as the rest of society. Among the book's forty-two essays are two public addresses-one about the prospects for classical music at the end of the second millennium C. E., the other a revisiting of the performance issues previously discussed in the author'sText and Act(1995)-that appear in print for the first time.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94279-0
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface: Against Utopia
    (pp. ix-xix)
  4. 1 Et in Arcadia Ego; Or, I Didn’t Know I Was Such a Pessimist until I Wrote This Thing (a talk)
    (pp. 1-20)

    I must begin by thanking the organizers of this conference—and Prof. Lawrence Lipking in particular, who actually tendered the invitation—for so unexpectedly asking me to speak today on the future of “music,” which in my case is to say Western classical music, the only music about which I am qualified to pontificate. I say “unexpectedly” because exercises like your Chicago Seminars, which call themselves catholic or universal or interdisciplinary, tend so often to exclude music, or rather to forget it. Marginalism has always been the fate of serious musicians in our society, and it has become even worse...

  5. From the New York Times, mostly
    • 2 Only Time Will Cover the Taint
      (pp. 21-24)

      The fact that pork is not kosher is no reflection on the pigs. Orthodox Jews avoid pig meat not because it tastes bad (how would they know?), or because it is bad for you (just look at the Cossacks), or even because pigs live in pigsties. They avoid it because unlike, for example, the meat of grasshoppers, it is forbidden, taboo, “tref”—the reverse of holy. The ban sanctifies its observers.

      Similarly, the fact that many Israelis do not want to hear Wagner’s music in their concert halls does not merely reflect on Wagner or his ugly personal beliefs. If...

    • 3 “Nationalism”: Colonialism in Disguise?
      (pp. 25-29)

      On page 1 of theTimesrecently, there was a report of lethal violence against peacekeepers in Somalia. Page 2 told of new threats to Middle East peace talks. Page 3 had several accounts of atrocities and hopelessness in Bosnia. Page 4 brought news of extreme hardship in the Caucasus as a result of territorial hostilities and ethnic separatism.

      And on the arts page there was a rosy dispatch from a music critic attending a Dvořák festival in Spillville, Iowa, all about what a marvelous thing nationalism is.

      You could not hope for a better illustration of what makes classical...

    • 4 Why Do They All Hate Horowitz?
      (pp. 30-36)

      The names of Vladimir Horowitz and Peter Ilyich Chaikovsky have often been linked, not least by the pianist’s unequaled affinity for the composer’s First Concerto. But what seems of especial moment this year—when a significant portion of Horowitz’s recorded legacy has been reissued on CD by Sony Classical (with twenty-two more CDs coming next month from BMG), and when Chaikovsky’s death centennial is being so studiously ignored—is that both are giants to whom Lilliputians inveterately condescend.

      In the aftermath of the Mozart year, Chaikovsky’s neglect can only seem a favor, but it is nevertheless peculiar. It defines his...

    • 5 Optimism amid the Rubble
      (pp. 37-42)

      “It is good to know how not to know how much one is knowing,” Stefan Wolpe told an audience of young California composers in 1959. New York’s most idiosyncratic serialist, a former dadaist approaching his seventh decade, was trying to keep them young at a time when modern music was going gray.

      In its immediate context the Gertrude Stein-ish aphorism was playful shoptalk aimed against the unbending rationalism that then defined musical seriousness. Don’t become self-consciously obsessed with technique, Wolpe urged, or rely on the rules and routines you’ve been taught. (“When art promises you this sort of reliability,” he...

    • 6 A Survivor from the Teutonic Train Wreck
      (pp. 43-45)

      In the twentieth century, the symphony moved to the suburbs. Once the great vehicle of an acknowledged “central” classical tradition, whose dominance was built into the very structure of institutional music making (German maestros or their pupils at the helm of every symphony orchestra and every conservatory from San Francisco to St. Petersburg), it survived on the peripheries while the central tradition destroyed itself. There have been notable twentieth-century symphonic “schools” in the Soviet Union, the United States, England, and Scandinavia but not in Germany.

      Fanatics of the Teutonic tradition have seen in this persistence a bootless defiance of history...

    • 7 Does Nature Call the Tune?
      (pp. 46-50)

      The University of Chicago Press has reissued one of the great books on contemporary music culture, Leonard B. Meyer’sMusic, the Arts and Ideas. Twenty-seven years after its first edition, it is still a book about contemporary music culture, not only because the author has updated it with a “postlude,” but also because his notorious prognosis has in so many ways been borne out.

      Twenty-seven years ago, academic serialists were claiming a unique historical legitimacy and creative authenticity that few dared challenge. Mr. Meyer, arguing from Gestalt psychology, information theory, and cybernetics—that is, from a position just as up...

    • 8 Two Stabs at the Universe
      (pp. 51-59)

      After several attempts at conflation, I realized that these two pieces on Ives’s inexhaustible “Universe” Symphony, one a record review and the other a concert promo, complemented each other like the realizations they described.

      The first of them has had a considerable impact on the writing of music history—in the first instance, on my own conceptualization of the early twentieth century in the fourth volume of theOxford History of Western Music. I cast successive chapters (nos. 50–52) as three variations on the theme of transcendentalism, each culminating in one of the “torsos” described in the essay (Scriabin,...

    • 9 In Search of the “Good” Hindemith Legacy
      (pp. 60-65)

      “You know, I’ve written a lot of music,” Paul Hindemith once remarked to the American composer Otto Luening. “Yes, you certainly have,” Mr. Luening agreed. “And you know,” Hindemith continued, “80 percent of it is bad.” “Then why did you write it?” Mr. Luening asked, with Hindemithian tact. “Because without the 80 percent,” came the reply, “there would never have been the 20 percent.”

      So whatisthat 20 percent, and where is it? one may well ask in this centenary year of Hindemith’s birth. After all, the five-day Carnegie Hall choral workshop led by Robert Shaw beginning on Tuesday,...

    • 10 Six Times Six: A Bach Suite Selection
      (pp. 66-70)

      Pablo Casals did for Bach’s cello suites what Fyodor Chaliapin did for the role of Boris Godunov in Musorgsky’s opera: revived them from the dead, made them a classic, created their performance practice, and—as interpretations of consummate authority inevitably will—ruined them for generations to come. No one coming after Chaliapin could evade his example. Alternatives were unthinkable; all one could do was emulate in vain hopes of surpassing. But efforts to surpass Chaliapin’s histrionics fell ineluctably into parody, until eyes were opened to what had happened and tradition could be broken.

      The Bach style Casals bequeathed to his...

    • 11 A Beethoven Season?
      (pp. 71-80)

      So it’s to be a Beethoven year. Carnegie Hall has announced a “Focus on Beethoven” for the coming season (as if Carnegie Hall had ever had another focus). Maurizio Pollini will play all thirty-two piano sonatas there beginning next month. Alfred Brendel will play all five piano concertos with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur at Avery Fisher Hall in March. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will present a Beethoven festival at Alice Tully Hall in January. All these performances will surely be magnificent; but with all due respect to the performers, a focus on Beethoven is...

    • 12 Dispelling the Contagious Wagnerian Mist
      (pp. 81-85)

      It had to happen. As surely as the irresistible force had to meet the immovable object, as surely as Frankenstein had to meet the Wolfman, Roger Norrington and his London Classical Players had to confront Richard Wagner, the fountainhead of everything against which Mr. Norrington and all of early music have been in constant zealous revolt. The resulting CD (EMI Classics 5 55479 2), which contains theRienziOverture, the Prelude to act 3 ofLohengrin, the Prelude and “Liebestod” fromTristan und Isolde, theMeistersingerPrelude, theSiegfried Idyll, and theParsifalPrelude, is one of the most fascinating...

    • 13 How Talented Composers Become Useless
      (pp. 86-93)

      The nice thing about an ism, someone once observed, is how quickly it becomes a wasm. Some musical wasms—academic-wasm, for example, and its dependent varieties of modern-wasm and serial-wasm—continue to linger on artificial life support, though, and continue to threaten the increasingly fragile classical ecosystem. A pair of new Albany CDs of music by Donald Martino, now the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music Emeritus at Harvard, have recently come my way like a gust of musty air. They prompt me to throw open a window on the miseducation of musicians in America.

      One disc, consisting entirely of...

    • 14 Making a Stand against Sterility
      (pp. 94-97)

      “Why did they do it?” Czeslaw Milosz wants to know. “What were they thinking?” InThe Year of the Hunter, his recently published diary, the Nobel Prize–winning poet finds occasion to bewail “the hideous music of the second half of the nineteenth century,” and wonders why composers ever abandoned “that heavenly sculpting in sound as in Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and not only in them; lesser composers, too, partook of that beautiful style.”

      Don’t we know it! All you have to do is switch on your FM radio to hear heavenly sculpting in sound, wall-to-wall, round-the-clock, by every lesser contemporary...

    • 15 A Sturdy Musical Bridge to the Twenty-first Century
      (pp. 98-103)

      As our century nears an end, it seems a good bet that Steve Reich will turn out to be the oldest twentieth-century composer in whom twenty-first-century musicians will find a kindred spirit. This proposition can now be tested conveniently with the help of Nonesuch Records, which has commemorated the composer’s sixtieth birthday with a big box of new and reissued recordings containing just about every composition on which Mr. Reich’s reputation is based (79451–2; ten CDs). That such an item strikes a major classical label as marketable suggests that perhaps classical music is not coming to the dead end...

    • 16 Calling All Pundits: No More Predictions!
      (pp. 104-108)

      A millennium is looming. We are in for a lot of big thought and big talk. Resist! Big thought and big talk have made nothing but trouble for music. My millennial wish is that the twenty-first century will discard them and get over the obsession with centuries and millennia that gives people the itch to micromanage decades.

      Pundits get lots of invitations these days to air big thoughts on the future of music. Reflecting, after receiving one, on why I found the idea so revolting, I remembered two predictions delivered in close succession during my student days. I offer them...

    • 17 In The Rake’s Progress, Love Conquers (Almost) All
      (pp. 109-117)

      On Thursday evening, the Metropolitan Opera will give its first performance of Igor Stravinsky’sRake’s Progresssince 1953, when the opera was brand new. It was conceived almost exactly fifty years ago, on 30 September 1947, when W. H. Auden met in New York with Ralph Hawkes of Boosey & Hawkes, Stravinsky’s publisher, and agreed to furnish the libretto. What had up to then been only Stravinsky’s vague wish, to write an opera in English on the theme of some Hogarth engravings that he had seen in Chicago, became a project on that day.

      The poet, who had been recommended by...

    • 18 Markevitch as Icarus
      (pp. 118-123)

      Tall, gauntly handsome, icily cultivated, the subject of many reverential memoirs and just as many backbiting or salacious rumors, Igor Markevitch was for more than five decades a spook of the first magnitude in the musical life of Europe and some of its North American artistic colonies like Cuba and French Canada. In the United States, however, he has been relatively little known, or known only as a conductor, a situation that may begin to change when the American Symphony Orchestra, directed by Leon Botstein, performsIcare, Markevitch’s reputed masterpiece, on Wednesday evening at Avery Fisher Hall.

      Like Prokofieff’sProdigal...

    • 19 Let’s Rescue Poor Schumann from His Rescuers
      (pp. 124-128)

      Don’t look now, but Robert Schumann is being rescued again. This time the deliverers are John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, his period-instrument ensemble, performing the four numbered “canonical” symphonies, plus the early unfinished one in G minor (in somebody’s eclectic conflation of its two extant sources); the original 1841 version of the Fourth; the Overture, Scherzo and Finale; and theKonzertstückin F for four horns and orchestra, all in a three-CD Archiv set (457 591-2).

      It happens about as regularly as El Niño. Some conductor suddenly realizes that Schumann was not the hopeless bumbler we...

    • 20 Early Music: Truly Old-Fashioned at Last?
      (pp. 129-132)

      If two new CDs by the English violinist Andrew Manze are any indication, early music may finally be shedding one of classical music’s most venerable but useless assumptions: to wit, the funny notion abroad among classical-music reviewers that the best thing a performer can do is disappear.

      Ian Bostridge, an English tenor, was warmly praised recently for what one critic, Paul Griffiths, somewhat infelicitously called his “self-elimination” during a performance of Schumann’sDichterliebe, of all things. Pianists and violinists who fail to duplicate Mr. Bostridge’s feat during concerto appearances regularly take their lumps, in these pages and elsewhere, for distracting...

    • 21 Bartók and Stravinsky: Odd Couple Reunited?
      (pp. 133-137)

      “I never could share his lifelong gusto for his native folklore,” said Igor Stravinsky of Bela Bartók in 1959. And what is more, “I couldn’t help regretting it in the great musician.” Stravinsky was seeking distance from a composer with whom, he felt, he was too often compared. On Wednesday and Friday evenings, the Hungarian pianist András Schiff, the Hungarian conductor Ivan Fischer, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra bring their countryman and the latter’s unwilling Russian counterpart back together at Carnegie Hall, setting Bartók’s three piano concertos in what the performers evidently consider their proper Stravinskian context.

      It’s about time....

    • 22 Wagner’s Antichrist Crashes a Pagan Party
      (pp. 138-143)

      They probably didn’t plan it that way, but San Francisco’s leading classicalmusic organizations will come into an interesting collision this week. At the War Memorial Opera House, the San Francisco Opera will stir up pagan ecstasy with several complete cycles of Richard Wagner’sRing of the Nibelung, beginning on Wednesday. Meanwhile, beginning on Thursday across the street at Davies Symphony Hall, and in a couple of other spots around town (including a Roman Catholic church), Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony will celebrate the life and times of Igor Stravinsky, who loved to bill himself as Wagner’s Antichrist,...

    • 23 A Surrealist Composer Comes to the Rescue of Modernism
      (pp. 144-152)

      “Nowadays you’re eclectic or you’re nothing,” a graduate student at Princeton University said recently when I inquired about the reigning philosophy of composition at that old bastion of utopian purity. Talk about signs of the times! By that new-Princetonian token, Thomas Adès, the English composing phenom (still under thirty) is really something, and the records keep coming. The fourth and latest Adès disc from EMI Classics bringsAsyla, the twenty-three-minute symphony-in-all-but-name that has just won its young composer Louisville University’s Grawemeyer Award, the biggest plum the classical-music world now offers.

      Is all the shouting merited? Yes indeed. If the attention...

    • 24 Corraling a Herd of Musical Mavericks
      (pp. 153-160)

      The ironies were thick on the ground. “A.T.&T. is the main corporate sponsor of American Mavericks” was the sign that hit your eye as you entered Davies Symphony Hall last month. Then you picked up your program and read an essay by Alan Rich, “No Brands, No Labels, No Boundaries,” which did little but tack a brand label on the favored elite and reinforce an implicit boundary that enraged advocates of the unfavored many. Their postings clogged classical cyberspace in the weeks leading up to the San Francisco Symphony’s American Mavericks festival and all through it. Everybody, it seemed, wanted...

    • 25 Can We Give Poor Orff a Pass at Last?
      (pp. 161-167)

      Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra are teasing us again about music and politics. In recent concerts they have given us politically excruciating but musically attractive cantatas by Franz Schmidt, who toadied to Hitler, and Sergey Prokofieff, who groveled to Stalin. As a follow-up, one might expect a program of musically excruciating but politically attractive works. But no, we don’t need the American Symphony for that. Such pieces are all over the map, what with Joseph Schwantner’s banalities in praise of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (New Morning for the World), John Harbison’s in furtherance of Middle...

    • 26 The Danger of Music and the Case for Control
      (pp. 168-180)

      And on top of everything else, the Taliban hate music, too. In an interview in October with Nicholas Wroe, a columnist for the British newspaper theGuardian, John Baily, an ethnomusicologist on the faculty of Goldsmiths College, London, gave the details. After taking power in 1996, the Islamic fundamentalists who ruled most of Afghanistan undertook search-and-destroy missions in which musical instruments and cassette players were seized and burned in public pyres. Wooden poles were festooned with great ribbons of confiscated audio- and videotape as a reminder of the ban, imposed in keeping with a maxim attributed to the prophet Muhammad...

    • 27 Ezra Pound: A Slim Sound Claim to Musical Immortality
      (pp. 181-185)

      According to an old and highly unreliable story, Pablo Picasso gave a few poems he had written to Gertrude Stein for comment. In the middle of the night, he was roused violently from sleep. It was Miss Stein, shaking him furiously and shouting: “Pablo! Pablo! Get up and paint!” There are times when—listening toEgo Scriptor Cantilenae: The Music of Ezra Pound, a comprehensive sampling of the poet’s little-known musical output—one wants to shout: “Pound! Pound! Write a poem!” More often, though, one listens quite fascinated. Much of it is strangely compelling, if eccentric, stuff.

      The career of...

    • 28 Underneath the Dissonance Beat a Brahmsian Heart
      (pp. 186-190)

      “An American Original,” the New York Philharmonic calls its current commemoration of Charles Ives on the fiftieth anniversary of his death, and probably few would dispute that designation. But it is misleadingly—and tellingly—incomplete.

      The Philharmonic’s association with Ives dates from 1951, when Leonard Bernstein led the première of the Second Symphony, composed between 1897 and 1909. The time lag was typical for Ives, who withdrew from the musical profession in 1902, after the première of his very respectable cantataThe Celestial Countryat the Central Presbyterian Church in New York, where he had been working as organist and...

    • 29 Enter Boris Goudenow, Just 295 Years Late
      (pp. 191-194)

      An early-music festival might not seem the likeliest place to witness a world première. But that is what the audience at the Cutler Majestic Theater will do this week when, after a 295-year delay, the Boston Early Music Festival presents the first fully staged production of the operaBoris Goudenow, or The Throne Attained through Cunning, or Honor Joined Happily with Affection, by the German Baroque composer Johann Mattheson. The four-performance run begins on Tuesday evening and ends next Sunday afternoon. From there the production will go to the Tanglewood Festival in Lenox, Massachusetts, this month, and to Moscow and...

  6. For the New Republic, mostly
    • 30 The First Modernist
      (pp. 195-201)

      Although he lived less than eighteen of his fifty-six years after 1900, Claude Debussy is by common consent the first twentieth-century composer, the man with whom modern music begins. With the exception of his somewhat younger friend and comrade Erik Satie (who possessed nothing approaching his range), the rest of what a demographer would call Debussy’s age cohort consisted of “post-Wagnerians” at the last, or next to last, outpost of romanticism (Strauss, Mahler), regional epigones of the symphonic tradition (Nielsen, Sibelius, Glazunov), post-Lisztian piano craftsmen at the “national” peripheries (Albéniz, MacDowell, Granados), and Franco-Italianveristi(Puccini, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Charpentier). These...

    • 31 The Dark Side of the Moon
      (pp. 202-216)

      “There must be a Caesar . . . for there to be a Virgil,” said Luigi Pirandello, voicing the opportunism that brought so many more Italian artists and intellectuals to Mussolini’s side than conviction alone could have mustered. This is not a book about Virgils, though, but about a host of squabbling tootlers and fiddlers falling over one another in their efforts to curry the imperial favor. And it is about another, the Anti-Caesar, who curried not, but became a god.

      Harvey Sachs, best known for his biography of Toscanini, frankly informs us at the outset that his book grew...

    • 32 Of Kings and Divas
      (pp. 217-240)

      “The more an artwork succeeds as politics,” the composer Ned Rorem has declared, “the more it fails as art.” With less panache and many more words, Representative Henry Hyde agrees: “Good art is evocative rather than provocative,” he has written, meaning that it is “neither art at the service of some political program nor art as an ideological instrument, but art as one means by which man gains a glimpse of the transcendent dimension of the human experience.” Brute interventions of American politics in the affairs of art have brought frightened artists and canting politicians together in denial. There is,...

    • 33 The Golden Age of Kitsch
      (pp. 241-260)

      First complete recordings of two famous yet unknown operas, both dating from 1927, have been issued by Decca/London amid huge fanfare, to inaugurate a projected series of releases devoted to the music of German composers who for reasons of race, taste, or politics fell out of favor with the Nazi regime. One isJonny spielt auf(Johnny Goes to Town), the fabled “jazz opera” by Ernst Krenek, which was first performed in Leipzig on February 10. The other, vastly dissimilar, isDas Wunder der Heliane(Heliane’s Miracle), the most ambitious of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s five operas (and the only one...

    • 34 No Ear for Music: The Scary Purity of John Cage
      (pp. 261-279)

      Lenny Bruce had a routine in which he sent audiences into paroxysms by classifying any artifact of contemporary culture to which they referred him as Jewish or goyish. The high point, on the recording that I heard, came when someone shouted, I think, “instant scrambled eggs,” and Bruce went, “ooh . . . scary goyish.” There is no better way of understanding what John Cage has meant to us, why he was so notorious and then so famous, and why his name will long remain an emblem. For half a century he stalked the world of music as its scariest...

    • 35 Sacred Entertainments
      (pp. 280-300)

      Ever since the cultural watershed of the 1960s, predictions of the imminent demise of classical music, especially in America, have been rife. Its audience, undermined by the precipitate decline in public music education and decimated by defections to pop (respectable for aspiring intellectuals from the moment rock became British), was assumed to be aging, indeed dying off. Whether as a symptom of this process or as one of its causes, media coverage for classical music steadily and drastically diminished over the 1970s and 1980s (coinciding with the rise of serious pop coverage), as did the number of radio stations that...

    • 36 The Poietic Fallacy
      (pp. 301-329)

      During his lifetime, and even—astonishingly—in the half century since his death, the music of Arnold Schoenberg has been influential and controversial out of all proportion to the frequency with which it has ever been performed or otherwise disseminated. His name has been a battle cry, a punching bag, an article of faith, a term of abuse, a finger in the dike, and a symbol for anything and everything: progress, degeneracy, elitism, integrity, disintegration, regeneration, sublimity, ridiculousness. According to some, he is the reason serious music is dying. According to others, he is the only reason it has even...

    • 37 The Musical Mystique: Defending Classical Music against Its Devotees
      (pp. 330-353)

      Last January, Gene Weingarten, aWashington Postcolumnist, persuaded the violinist Joshua Bell to join him in an experiment. Bell was to dress in jeans, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap, position himself at the head of the escalator in the L’Enfant Plaza subway station at the height of the morning rush hour, open his violin case, take out his $3.5 million Stradivarius, launch into Bach’s D-minor Chaconne for solo violin, and see what happened.

      Nothing much happened. People hurrying to work hurried by. Half a dozen or so, mainly those working in the station or early for appointments, listened...

  7. From the scholarly press
    • 38 Revising Revision
      (pp. 354-381)

      What has made Harold Bloom’s agonistic theory of poetic influence so popular? It is not a pretty thing. At its core is bleakness—a view of human nature founded on jealousy, territoriality, resentment, and of human relations founded on corrosive rivalry, contention, strife. “Revisionism,” the forcible recasting of what is received, is his announced subject, “and revisionism, in personal life, in society and its institutions, in religion, and in the arts and sciences and all the academic disciplines, is a fierce process, however that process conceals itself in the codes of civilization.”¹ Bloom is in the company of Machiavelli, of...

    • 39 Back to Whom? Neoclassicism as Ideology
      (pp. 382-405)

      In their commentary to the Paul Sacher Stiftung facsimile of Stravinsky’sSymphonies d’instruments à vent(composed in 1920), André Baltensperger and Felix Meyer classify theSymphoniesas “one of the last works of the composer’s ‘Russian’ period,” to be sharply distinguished from “the new ‘neoclassical’ orientation” around the corner, recognizable by its “complex network of allusions to historical models in art music.”¹ Retrospectivism and stylistic allusion—in particular, pastiche or parody of eighteenth-century styles and forms—are indeed the features by which twentieth-century neoclassicism in music is generally identified, but a mere moment’s reflection will show their inadequacy to the...

    • 40 She Do the Ring in Different Voices
      (pp. 406-419)

      The fifth chapter of Carolyn Abbate’sUnsung Voicesopens on a famous narrative, the old comedy of how theRinggot written: how Wagner, in an effort to purge his libretto forSiegfrieds Todof its superfluous narratives, preceded it withDer junge Siegfried; how, to keepDerjunge Siegfriedfrom getting bogged down in narrative in its turn, he addedDie Walküreand, finally,Das Rheingold; how, so far from achieving his ostensible purpose, he wound up with four narrative-heavy librettos in place of one (not even ridding the original libretto of its offenders); how he compounded the problem with...

    • 41 Stravinsky and Us
      (pp. 420-446)

      When, at the dawn of the third millennium, we use the wordStravinsky, we no longer merely name a person. We mean a collection of ideas: ideas embodied in, or rather construed out of, a certain body of highly valued musical and literary texts that acquired enormous authority in twentieth-century musical culture. That authority and its consequences are what have been preoccupying my thoughts about Stravinsky since completingStravinsky and the Russian Traditions, which, though published in 1996, was not as recent a study as it seemed. It had spent almost seven years in press, during which time my thinking...

  8. Envoi
    • 42 Setting Limits (a talk)
      (pp. 447-466)

      As the son and brother of lawyers, I couldn’t be more delighted to be asked to address this symposium as a keynoter. But I have some misgivings, too. A keynoter, as I have always understood the term, is an agenda-setter, and I am uncomfortable in that role. In my own field, my reputation is more that of an agendaupsetter, and that is one of the reasons why my work attracted the attention of your conveners, hence one of the reasons why I am here. But I am unaware of having an agenda where the topic of this meeting is...

  9. INDEX
    (pp. 467-488)