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Music and Society: The Politics of Composition, Performance and Reception [Anglais] [Broché]

Richard Leppert , Susan McClary

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Description de l'ouvrage

15 juin 1989
This provocative volume of essays is now available in paperback. The contributors to this volume - musicologists, sociologists, cultural theorists - all challenge the view that music occupies an autonomous aesthetic sphere. Recently, socially and politically grounded enterprises such as feminism, semiotics and deconstruction have effected a major transformation in the ways in which the arts and humanities are studied, leading in turn to a systematic investigation of the implicit assumptions underlying the critical methods of the last two hundred years. Influenced by these approaches, the writers here question a prevailing ideology that insists there is a division between music and society and examine the ways in which the two do in fact interact and mediate one another within and across socio-cultural boundaries.

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Revue de presse

'Among the year's most stimulating reading material' The Observer

'This is an important book, crowded … with new ideas and arguments that challenge many of our assumptions.' The Musical Times

' … most rewarding … As a collection of humanistic scholarship that amplifies the best sociological tradition … it is highly recommended.' Contemporary Sociology

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The last great Bach Year, 1950 (the bicentennial of Bach's death), inspired the undertaking of many monuments of Bach scholarship we now find indispensible. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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1.0 étoiles sur 5 there is no ambiguity about the political meaning of this 22 septembre 1999
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Who would deny "how very central music is to our understanding of ourselves"? Must we therefore also accept the conclusions drawn from this premise in [this book]: "Music passes from the separate sphere of the marginal-if-beautiful into the realities of the social world. If music thereby loses its aura, it is granted both the powers and responsibilities of a genuinely political medium." But if music is a "genuinely political medium," it must have a political message. What is that message? Can music that exploits folk elements in a way that led Bartok "to a new conception of the chromatic scale" properly fulfill its political "responsibilities"? Or is this only possible where an affiliation with folk song has the opposite implication, where it acts as an immunizing agent against the tendencies proscribed in the 1948 Resolution of the CCCP, "atonality, dissonances and disharmony"? Can "the powers and responsibilities of a genuinely political medium" as manifested in the music of the past have any relevance for our time? Whatever political meaning the Eroica Symphony may have had for Beethoven and may have for us stands utterly opposed to that which the Nazis were able to find in this same work and which enabled them to exploit it for their own political purposes. It has been suggested that "without words or strong folk elements, it is doubtful if music can convey a clear epic meaning." Die Meistersinger has both, but this did not prevent the Nazis from politically exploiting the work in ways that were totally at odds with what the American critic, Paul Rosenfeld, saw as its inherent content. He was revolted by "the image of an audience of Nazi porkers self-righteously taking in the concluding scene of the music drama, identifying their sinister Fascist state with the bright democratic order figured there, adopting the composer as their prophet and justifying their ways to men with his vision." How can a single work impart such totally different political messages and serve such totally different political purposes? There is, however, no ambiguity at all about what it means to "grant" to music "the powers and responsibilities of a genuinely political medium." To deprive music of its private and personal meaning for us would be to deprive us of privacy and personality, and there is no ambiguity about the political meaning of this--there is no ambiguity about the spiritual deprivation that permits a composer to say, in response to the Central Committee's Resolution, "How could it have happened that I failed to introduce a single folk song in the score of my opera? It seems strange and almost incredible to me, and can be explained only as a manifestation of my inherent snobbishness" (Muradeli). Or, "the absence, in my works, of the interpretation of folk art, that great spirit by which our people lives, has been with utmost clarity and definiteness pointed out by the Central Committee....I am deeply grateful for it" (Shostakovich). Or "I must admit that I, too, have indulged in atonality....In the future I hope to get rid of this mannerism" (Prokofiev).
George Perle, "The Listening Composer"
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