Synopses & Reviews
and#147;This book, the first scholarly consideration of Weilland#8217;s complete output of stage works, is without doubt the most important critical study of the composerand#8217;s oeuvre to date in any language. Hintonand#8217;s scholarship is superior and his insights original and illuminating. The product of several decades of engagement with Weilland#8217;s works, their sources and reception, as well as the secondary literature, the book is a stunning achievement. Brilliantly conceived and executed, it will take its place as one of the cornerstones of Weill studies.and#8221;and#151;Kim H. Kowalke, University of Rochester and President, Kurt Weill Foundation for Music
and#147;In Weilland#8217;s Musical Theater: Stages of Reform, Stephen Hinton reminds us that Kurt Weill was always a revolutionary. The composerand#8217;s insistent dedication to a provocative, constantly evolving lyric theater that spoke directly to audiences meant that Weill remained as controversial as he was popular. The celebrity that endeared him to Broadway made him anathema in Berlin. Some sixty years after Weilland#8217;s death, Hinton is finally able to demonstrate the consistent brilliance, theatrical power, and coherence of a composer who revolutionized every genre he touched (or used) and whose collaborators read as a whoand#8217;s who of twentieth-century theater.and#8221;
and#151;David Savran, author of Highbrow/Lowdown: Theater, Jazz, and the Making of the New Middle Class
"Stephen Hinton presents us with an image of Weill that is at once monumental yet still alive. A truly Protean figure, Weill is not an easy man to grasp in his totality; Brecht once wrote that a man thrown into water will have to develop webbed feet, and as a refugee from Nazi Germany, Weill had to become a cultural amphibian. But in Weill's Musical Theater we see the composer from every angle: through the gaze of countless critics and reviewers, through Weill's own eyes, and finally through the filter of Hinton's judicious, focused prose. This account will stand."and#151;Daniel Albright, author of Untwisting the Serpent: Modernism in Music, Literature, and Other Arts
and#8220;Eminently readable, with or without his music playing in the background. Professor Hinton is a fine writer who conveys what he knows and feels in terms insightful, intuitive and nuanced, yet accessible to those of us who are musically marginalized.and#8221;
and#8220;An in-depth view of the entire oeuvre of Weill's stage compositions. . . . A scholarly and thoroughly researched work. . . . Highly Recommended.and#8221;
"This is essential reading not only for Weill scholars but also those interested in twentieth-century opera and the history of the American musical. . . . Its achievement will not soon be surpassed."
"Head's contribution is most welcome . . . for the light that it sheds on a cultural field that was every bit as significant as literature and art."
and#8220;[A] tautly constructed and thought-provoking new study.and#8221;
and#8220;Exceptionally interesting and full of insights.and#8221;
and#8220;[A] formidably learned and wittily expressed book.and#8221;
and#8220;Rich tapestry of cultural history.and#8221;
and#8220;As an explanation of the tenets of modern musicand#8217;s reception . . . Bergerand#8217;s thesis may be accepted as hard music historical fact.and#8221;
and#8220;Essential reading for all who take an intelligent, informed interest in Wagner.and#8221;
and#8220;A solid and stimulating read.and#8221;
and#8220;Wide-ranging and eclectic, this volume presents the latest Wagner scholarship and criticism.and#8221;
and#8220;An engaging portraitand#8221;
"A significant book, which usefully applies gender studies to a previously neglected period of music history."
"Well-written and engaging . . . a significant contribution to the musicological discourse on gender."
andldquo;A work filled with wisdom about the andldquo;strangeness of the pastandrdquo; . . . [a] splendid book.andrdquo;
In this original study, Christopher Alan Reynolds examines the influence of Beethovenand#8217;s Ninth Symphony on two major nineteenth-century composers, Richard Wagner and Robert Schumann. During 1845and#150;46 the compositional styles of Schumann and Wagner changed in a common direction, toward a style that was more contrapuntal, more densely motivic, and engaged in processes of thematic transformation. Reynolds shows that the stylistic advances that both composers made in Dresden in 1845and#150;46 stemmed from a deepened understanding of Beethovenand#8217;s techniques and strategies in the Ninth Symphony. The evidence provided by their compositions from this pivotal year and the surrounding years suggests that they discussed Beethovenand#8217;s Ninth with each other in the months leading up to the performance of this work, which Wagner conducted on Palm Sunday in 1846. Two primary aspects that appear to have interested them both are Beethovenand#8217;s use of counterpoint involving contrary motion and his gradual development of the and#147;Ode to Joyand#8221; melody through the preceding movements. Combining a novel examination of the historical record with careful readings of the music, Reynolds adds further layers to this argument, speculating that Wagner and Schumann may not have come to these discoveries entirely independently of each other. The trail of influences that Reynolds explores extends back to the music of Bach and ahead to Tristan and Isolde, as well as to Brahmsand#8217;s First Symphony.
In the first musicological study of Kurt Weilland#8217;s complete stage works, Stephen Hinton charts the full range of theatrical achievements by one of twentieth-century musical theaterand#8217;s key figures. Hinton shows how Weilland#8217;s experiments with a range of genresand#151;from one-act operas and plays with music to Broadway musicals and film-operaand#151;became an indispensable part of the reforms he promoted during his brief but intense career. Confronting the divisive notion of and#147;two Weillsand#8221;and#151;one European, the other Americanand#151;Hinton adopts a broad and inclusive perspective, establishing criteria that allow aspects of continuity to emerge, particularly in matters of dramaturgy. Tracing his extraordinary journey as a composer, the book shows how Weilland#8217;s artistic ambitions led to his working with a remarkably heterogeneous collection of authors, such as Georg Kaiser, Bertolt Brecht, Moss Hart, Alan Jay Lerner, and Maxwell Anderson.
In the German states in the late eighteenth century, women flourished as musical performers and composers, their achievements measuring the progress of culture and society from barbarism to civilization. Female excellence, and related feminocentric values, were celebrated by forward-looking critics who argued for music as a fine art, a component of modern, polite, and commercial culture, rather than a symbol of institutional power. In the eyes of such critics, femininityand#151;a newly emerging and primarily bourgeois idealand#151;linked women and music under the valorized signs of refinement, sensibility, virtue, patriotism, luxury, and, above all, beauty. This moment in musical history was eclipsed in the first decades of the nineteenth century, and ultimately erased from the music-historical record, by now familiar developments: the formation of musical canons, a musical history based on technical progress, the idea of masterworks, authorial autonomy, the musical sublime, and aggressively essentializing ideas about the relationship between sex, gender and art. In Sovereign Feminine, Matthew Head restores this earlier musical history and explores the role that women played in the development of classical music.
"In Sovereign Feminine
, Matthew Head presents a compelling model for how to consider the music authored by women. In doing so, he brings to light aspects of eighteenth-century music, ideology, and aesthetics that have been neglected by musicology's excessive emphasis on the Big Five: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven. An important book that takes gender studies in musicology to the next stage."and#151;Susan McClary, author of Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality
and#147;This subtle and empathetic exploration of German musical culture [brings] to life a world of feminine idealization where to compose, to write or to perform as a woman is to offer potential models of civilizing behavior. With refreshing honesty about his own changing attitudes, Head ably navigates the tightrope of this transitional era. His collection of finely-judged analyses will cause many a reader to reconsider assumptions of feminist scholarship.and#8221;and#151;Katharine Ellis, Stanley Hugh Badock Professor of Music, University of Bristol, UK
and#147;Through its exploration of womanand#8217;s role as the civilized and civilizing center of late 18th-century German music culture, this important book provokes and rewards in equal measure. Ranging from influential women composers to young ladies at the keyboard, this subtle and brilliant study argues for the positive status of the feminine, challenging narratives of female exclusion with the radiant concept of female sovereignty.and#8221;and#151;Annette Richards, author of The Free Fantasia and the Musical Picturesque
A new picture of music at the basilica of St. Peter's in the fifteenth century emerges in Christopher A. Reynolds's fascinating chronicle of this rich period of Italian musical history. Reynolds examines archival documents, musical styles, and issues of artistic patronage and cultural context in a fertile consideration of the ways historical and musical currents affected each other.
This work is both a historical account of performers and composers and an examination of how their music revealed their cultural values and educational backgrounds. Reynolds analyzes several anonymous masses copied at St. Peter's, proposing attributions that have biographical implications for the composers. Taken together, the archival records and the music sung at St. Peter's reveal a much clearer picture of musical life at the basilica than either source would alone. The contents of the St. Peter's choirbook help document musical life as surely as that musical lifeinsofar as it can be reconstructed from the archivesillumines the choirbook.
"A work of great importance in the field of early Renaissance Italian music, which documents the emergence of Rome as a major musical center."Martin Picker, editor of The Motet Books of Andrea Antico
"This book presents an immense amount of new material about music at San Pietro, and by extension in Rome, during a crucial period in the history of Renaissance music. It will be warmly welcomed by specialists and will also be controversial because of the innovative attempt to group anonymous works into families much as art historians do with paintings. Reynolds is one of the few scholars I know who works comfortably in both the traditional historical mode and the new critical one."Alejandro Planchart, author of The Repertory of Tropes at Winchester
In this erudite and elegantly composed argument, Karol Berger uses the works of Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven to support two groundbreaking claims: first, that it was only in the later eighteenth century that music began to take the flow of time from the past to the future seriously; second, that this change in the structure of musical time was an aspect of a larger transformation in the way educated Europeans began to imagine and think about time with the onset of modernity, a part of a shift from the premodern Christian outlook to the modern post-Christian worldview. Until this historical moment, as Berger illustrates in his analysis of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, music was simply "in time." Its successive events unfolded one after another, but the distinction between past and future, earlier and later, was not central to the way the music was experienced and understood. But after the shift, as he finds in looking at Mozart's Don Giovanni, the experience of linear time is transformed into music's essential subject matter; the cycle of time unbends and becomes an arrow. Berger complements these musical case studies with a rich survey of the philosophical, theological, and literary trends influencing artists during this period.
"Karol Berger may have gone further than any other scholar before himand#151;and very successfully soand#151;in teasing out the historicity of music in a way that makes his discoveries convergent with the historicity of other media and art forms. In its argumentative brilliance, Berger's approach enhances our aesthetic pleasure in listening to music."and#151;Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Albert Guand#233;rard Professor in Literature, Stanford University
"This is a major work by a major scholar. Berger is unique; there is something uncanny about his powers of synthesis and his quality of insight. No one else can relate, as he does, the closest technical analysis of music to the broadest questions of philosophy."and#151;Richard Taruskin, author of The Oxford History of Western Music
"This book is an event. The musical styles of Bach and Mozart are admirably contrasted to illustrate an epochal shift in the cultural construction of time occurring around 1750. Berger combines careful musical analysis with grand perspectives on the plane of cultural theory and the history of ideas. The intellectual world has long been waiting for musicology to open up to the "cultural turn" that other disciplines of the humanities took long ago: here is a book which can serve as a model."and#151;Jan Assmann author of Die Zauberfland#246;te: Oper und Mysterium
John Deathridge presents a different and critical view of Richard Wagner based on recent research that does not shy away from some unpalatable truths about this most controversial of composers in the canon of Western music. Deathridge writes authoritatively on what Wagner did, said, and wrote, drawing from abundant material already well known but also from less familiar sources, including hitherto seldom discussed letters and diaries and previously unpublished musical sketches. At the same time, Deathridge suggests that a true estimation of Wagner does not lie in an all too easy condemnation of his many provocative actions and ideas. Rather, it is to be found in the questions about the modern world and our place in it posed by the best of his stage works, among them Tristan und Isolde and Der Ring des Nibelungen. Controversy about Wagner is unlikely to go away, but rather than taking the line of least resistance by regarding him blandly as a "classic" in the Western art tradition, Deathridge suggests that we need to confront the debates that have raged about him and reach beyond them, toward a fresh and engaging assessment of what he ultimately achieved.
"This collection provides us with that rarest of objects: a genuinely new book on Wagner. Virtually every page offers fresh perspectives, some of them mined from the most unlikely of sources; indeed, the sheer eclecticism of the book, its willingness to range widely and irreverently through both popular and elite culture, is one of its greatest strengths."and#151;Roger Parker, author of Remaking the Song: Operatic Visions and Revisions from Handel to Berio
"John Deathridge is one of the most authoritative, widely-regarded Wagner scholars around in any language. Few can match his command of scholarship and primary sources, and no one else knows how to put them to such clever, provocative uses. In addition, Deathridge enjoys an impressive range of critical, historical, and literary reference. The writing is consistently lively and engaging. The collection will provide a welcome change of diet for those tired of the usual Wagnerian fare. This is a welcome contribution, indeed."and#151;Thomas Grey, author of Wagner's Musical Prose: Texts and Contexts
"Once again Christopher Reynolds amazes us with his X-ray ears, this time forging what will surely be a permanent link between Schumann and Wagner, two composers often thought incompatible, not least by themselves. Uncovering their common responses to Beethovenand#8217;s Ninth and to the music of Bach, as well as Brahmsand#8217;s response to the two of them (eager and grateful toward the one, covert and grudging toward the other), he reminds us that composers are alive to all sorts of stimuli but react most tellingly to one anotherand#8217;s music. Reading Reynolds is like borrowing his ears and hearing new resonances in music we thought we knew."and#151;Richard Taruskin, author of The Oxford History of Western Music
"By illuminating the largely unexplored topic of his interactions with Schumann, this book establishes the terms of a fundamental reassessment of Wagnerand#8217;s development in the 1840s and 50s. Of particular interest are the specific ways in which Wagner, Schumann, and other romantic composers followed the example of Beethovenand#8217;s monumental Ninth Symphony. The story of that workand#8217;s formative influence has been told many times, but never before with the degree of insight and musical detail that Christopher Reynolds presents here."and#151;Stephen Hinton, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University, and author of Weill's Musical Theater: Stages of Reform
"Music historians have long been aware of two separate stories: one, that Beethovenand#8217;s Ninth Symphony exerted tremendous fascination on virtually all later symphonists; the other, that Richard Wagner saw his music drama as the next logical step to be taken after the Ninth. What Christopher Reynolds does in this imaginative and persuasive study is to bring these two stories together and to demonstrate that they are in fact a single story, one that emerged during the fateful 1845and#150;46 meetings between Wagner and Schumann in Dresden."and#151;Karol Berger, author ofand#160;A Theory of Art andand#160;Bach's Cycle,and#160;Mozart's Arrow: An Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity
About the Author
Christopher Alan Reynolds is Professor of Music at University of California, Davis, and author of Papal Patronage and the Music of St. Peterand#8217;s, 1380and#150;1513 and Motives for Allusion: Context and Content in Nineteenth-Century Music (which was a finalist for the Otto Kinkeldey Award from the American Musicological Society in 2004). He is a past president of the American Musicological Society.
Table of Contents
part i. a few beginnings
1. Wagner Lives
Issues in Autobiography
2. and#147;Paleand#8221; Senta
Female Sacrifice and the Desire for Heimat
3. Wagner the Progressive
Another Look at Lohengrin
part ii. der ring des nibelungen
4. Fairy Tale, Revolution, Prophecy
Preliminary Evening: Das Rheingold
5. Symphonic Mastery or Moral Anarchy?
First Day: Die Walkand#252;re
6. Siegfried Hero
Second Day: Siegfried
7. Finishing the End
Third Day: Gand#246;tterdand#228;mmerung
part iii. the elusiveness of tragedy
8. Don Carlos and Gand#246;tterdand#228;mmerung
Two Operatic Endings and Walter Benjaminand#8217;s Trauerspiel
9. Wagnerand#8217;s Greeks, and Wielandand#8217;s Too
part iv. tristan und isolde
10. Dangerous Fascinations
11. Public and Private Life
Reflections on the Genesis of Tristan and Isolde and the Wesendonck Lieder
12. Postmortem on Isolde
part v. mature polemics
13. Strange Love, Or, How We Learned to Stop
Worrying and Love Parsifal
14. Mendelssohn and the Strange Case of the
(Lost) Symphony in C
15. Unfinished Symphonies
part vi. Operatic Futures
16. Configurations of the New
17. Wagner and Beyond
List of Abbreviations