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For three or four decades after the Second World War, musical thinking in Britain was dominated by psychology. Yet, ironically, there has never been an account of exactly what is entailed. Among the earliest of the musical Freudians was Hans Keller (1919-85), an émigré from Vienna who later became a charismatic figure at the BBC and a trenchant commentator on a host of issues (including football). He arrived in London soon after the Kristallnacht of 1938, and from then until 1952 (a watershed year in his development as a critic) collaborated with leading sociologists an psychoanalysts in studies of politics, society, gender and sex. He also devised new ways of writing about music, inspired by a love for Mozart and Britten (notably Peter Grimes, The Rape of Lucretia, I>The Little Sweep and Albert Herring). The Fruit of Keller's activity forms the subject of this book, the first thorough and informed exploration of how a psychoanalytical musical criticism may be grounded in individual and small-group psychology. For his case studies Keller drew on composers, performers, listeners and critics; and for his general topics he turned to opera, film music, creative character, genius, aesthetics and the issues of everyday musical life. The writing is impressive for its novelty, its insights, and the communicative clarity of its prose. The book includes a large number of aphorisms, two stories and a one-act play on British anti-Semitism. Most of the writings appear here in print for the first time and are drawn from papers held in the Hans Keller Archive at the University Library in Cambridge.
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