Registered Tribunale di Lucca – RG n. 1323/2017 | ISSN 2532-9995 | © Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini. All rights reserved.
  • La crítica estética y social de Adorno al determinismo serial: la forma musical, el material y su función social

Vicent Minguet (Institut-Escola Artístic Oriol Martorell, Barcelona) |

In April 1954, Theodor W. Adorno gave a lecture at the Süddeutsche Rundfunkin Stuttgart, ‘Das Altern der neuen Musik’(‘The Aging of the New Music’), in which he addressed one of the most incisive criticisms of the post-war cultural scene in Europe against the aesthetic and technical position of postwebernian serialism. Adorno, who had already defended Schoenberg’s aesthetic model in Die Philosophie der neuen Musik, went a step further that time and attributed a rejection of the open criticism of society to the new works of the young generation of serial composers of the so called Darmstadt School. In his opinion such a rejection should be at the roots of the expressive language of the musical work in a particularly complex historical moment. The aspect of Adorno’s critique concerning the social function of technique and, therefore, of music and art, would immediately be revealed as one of the most controversial. The historical connotations of musical material, filled with meanings deposited by the weight of history, could only be liquidated according to him through the subjective expression of the inner denial, which in his opinion is contrary to the unifying and oppressive identity to which the inexorable technological rationalization ultimately leads. In this context, the so-called ‘new music’ faced the challenge and the obligation to assume history without denying it. Based on these considerations, the bulk of the musical criticism that Adorno publicly supported since 1954 transcended the technical and conceptual category of the compositional field to enter an area that we can ascribe to the aesthetic and social criticism: the examination of the social content of the musical material and the problem of the social function of the musical form were at the centre of his reflections. In this paper I review the sociological foundations that underpin Adorno’s path from the initial criticism of 1954 to the formulation in 1961 of a new conception of musical form under the idea of musique informelle(‘informal music’) taking also into consideration the positions and reactions to the serialism of composers such as Ligeti or Lachenmann, who in the 60s introduced perception at the centre of the discussion of form and material, giving rise to new compositional models where form escapes both to the fetish character of the material criticized by Adorno, as well as its conventional expressive residues.
  • Ideological Currents in Heinrich Schenker’s Post-War Polemics against Paul Bekker

Georg Burgstaller (RILM, New York) |

Heinrich Schenker’s bellicose polemics published in the aftermath of World War I count among those most unpalatable to his modern readers; they are, at the same time, revealing in terms of how he came to internalize the pandemonium of the war by aligning his theory of music with his increasingly radical anti-democratic disposition and German nationalism. Through a close reading of hitherto mostly unexplored writings by the theorist alongside that of a selection of newspaper articles that he read during that period, this paper examines his preoccupation with one writer that he deemed his opponent in particular, German music critic Paul Bekker. Schenker’s at the time largely unpublished and rather one-sided exchanges with the left-leaning Jewish critic help shed light not only on the ideological circumstances under which his theory developed, but also on the gradual fragmentation of his own Jewish identity during the early 1920s. Besides chronicling the pervasive infiltration of anti-Semitism into the discourse on music, this paper demonstrates how conservative and progressive stances in relation to music and criticism became conflated with conflicting visions of society during those post-war years.

Diario anónimo: fuentes musicales en la voz de José Ángel Valente

Juan José Pastor Comín (Centro de Investigación y Documentación Musical (CIDoM) – Unidad Asociada al CSIC. Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha) |

As a young man whose dream of becoming an eminent progressive composer remained unfulfilled as yet, Hugo Wolf ardently and brashly defended the New German School in the concert reviews he wrote for the Wiener Salonblattin 1884-1887, pitting himself against the conservative Viennese music establishment in general and increasingly against highly influential critic Eduard Hanslick in particular. Though Wolf began to quote Hanslick’s reviews and attack him by name in 1886, it generally is thodsght that Hanslick did not respond to Wolf’s harangues in his own critical writing; indeed, to my knowledge he did not mention Wolf in the Neue Freie Presseuntil his well-known review of a Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde concert containing two of Wolf’s works in 1894. However, much of the commentary on Hanslick’s critical writings has been based upon the collections that he selected from his total corpus and redacted for republication. When all of Hanslick’s original Neue Freie Pressereviews from 1884-1887 are laid beside Wolf’s in chronological sequence, one begins to see subtle responses to Wolf and catch glimpses of a dialogue between artist and critic that speaks to the role and professional responsibilities of criticism in addition to aesthetic issues. The current study focuses on recovering this dialogue and examining its stimuli and connotations, from early oblique fencing over the Brahms/Wagner controversy and the concerts of the visiting Meiningen Orchestra under Hans von Bülow in 1884, through Wolf’s infamous direct assault after the 1886 Viennese premiere of Brahms’s fourth symphony, and continuing until Wolf abandoned his critical career in April of the following year. In Wolf’s case in particular, his personal circumstances and his inability to achieve recognition as a composer very much informed his critical and philosophical stances. While Hanslick was not writing of Wolf’s own music during Wolf’s time as a critic, it is nonetheless from this perspective that Wolf’s attacks on Hanslick are properly understood. Their vehemence and personal nature were motivated by Wolf’s own personal life-or-death struggle as a composer against the dictates of conservative taste as much as by the general Brahms/Wagner controversy.
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