Richard Kramer Unfinished Music

ISBN 13: 9780199917884

Unfinished Music

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9780199917884: Unfinished Music

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.

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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.

Review:


"This extraordinary book provides a unitary experience, revealing a deep and special perspective on classical music and style. It should be required reading for anyone studying or interested in 18th-century music."--CHOICE


"Richard Kramer's Unfinished Music is a work of great daring and vast erudition, rich in profundities, and overflowing with striking insights into the deepest levels of musical significance. The range of topics is astonishing--fantasia, cadenza, variation; sketches, fragments, improvisations; narrativity, beauty, late style. Music willingly yields its most closely-held secrets to Kramer's sensitive ear and probing mind."--Maynard Solomon, author of Late Beethoven: Music, Thought, Imagination


"Richard Kramer's profound meditations on music from 1770 to 1828 are wonderful reading for all music-lovers who care about Beethoven and Schubert, and indispensable for an understanding of the vital importance of Carl Philip Emanuel Bach for Mozart and Beethoven."--Charles Rosen, author of Romantic Poets, Critics, and Other Madmen


"Unfinished Music creates and sustains a distinctive critical discourse. In his quest to recognize the elusive moment of artistic intuition, to be knowingly alive to what cannot be known, Richard Kramer reanimates a profound impulse from the twilight of the Enlightenment. The result is a beautifully heard performance that engages every piece of evidence--philosophical, literary, musical--with the same combination of imaginative address and exacting grasp."--Scott Burnham, Professor of Music, Princeton University


"Richard Kramer's Unfinished Music is a work of great daring and vast erudition, rich in profundities, and overflowing with striking insights into the deepest levels of musical significance. The range of topics is astonishing--fantasia, cadenza, variation; sketches, fragments, improvisations; narrativity, beauty, late style. Music willingly yields its most closely-held secrets to Kramer's sensitive ear and probing mind."--Maynard Solomon, author of Late Beethoven: Music, Thought, Imagination


"Richard Kramer's profound meditations on music from 1770 to 1828 are wonderful reading for all music-lovers who care about Beethoven and Schubert, and indispensable for an understanding of the vital importance of Carl Philip Emanuel Bach for Mozart and Beethoven."--Charles Rosen, author of Romantic Poets, Critics, and Other Madmen


"Unfinished Music creates and sustains a distinctive critical discourse. In his quest to recognize the elusive moment of artistic intuition, to be knowingly alive to what cannot be known, Richard Kramer reanimates a profound impulse from the twilight of the Enlightenment. The result is a beautifully heard performance that engages every piece of evidence--philosophical, literary, musical--with the same combination of imaginative address and exacting grasp."--Scott Burnham, Professor of Music, Princeton University


"By the concluding page of Unfinished Music, [Kramer] has succeeded in demonstrating that while the work of art may well be the death mask of intuition and conception alike, it also
"masks in these two contradictory senses, concealing, altering, disguising the throe of intuition even as it reveals, limits, sets the work in some formal language that allows of its apprehension" (p. 379). For this, and for many other enlivening insights found throughout this remarkable piece of criticism, we can be grateful." --Dennis F. Mahoney, Journal of the American Musicological Society


"[A] remarkable piece of criticism." --Journal of the American Musicological Society


"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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