Music in other words : Victorian conversations by Ruth A. Solie

By Ruth A. Solie

Just because the preoccupations of any given cultural second make their manner into the language of song, the adventure of track makes its approach into different arenas of existence. To unearth those overlapping meanings and vocabularies from the Victorian period, Ruth A. Solie examines assets as disparate as journalism, novels, etiquette manuals, spiritual tracts, and youths' diaries for the muffled, even subterranean, conversations that exhibit loads approximately what song intended to the Victorians. Her essays, giving voice to "what is going with out announcing" at the subject—that cultural details so current and pervasive as to head unsaid—fill in probably the most fascinating blanks in our knowing of music's history.

This much-anticipated assortment, bringing jointly new and hard-to-find items by way of an acclaimed musicologist, mines the plentiful informal texts of the interval to teach how Victorian-era people—English and others—experienced tune and what they understood to be its energy and its reasons. Solie's essays commence from subject matters as diverse as Beethoven feedback, Macmillan's journal, George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, opera tropes in literature, and the Victorian delusion of the lady on the piano. They evoke universal themes—including the ethical strength that used to be hooked up to track within the public brain and the strongly gendered nature of musical perform and sensibility—and in flip recommend the advanced hyperlinks among the background of tune and the background of ideas.

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Strauss, “Beethoven’s Neunte,” col. 130. 86. Strauss’s “incompetence” was one of the last subjects on which Wagner and Nietzsche continued to agree, although their accord was not based on common arguments. Anthony M. Ludovici, in Complete Works, vol. 4). ”87 This viewpoint, or at least its echo by scores of later commentators, may actually be a byproduct of the great Zukunftsmusik controversy because the futurist debate was whether it was the presence of words or the introduction of human voices as such that constituted Beethoven’s revolutionary move; the conservative argument, on the contrary, had merely to do with whether the piece could properly be called a symphony.

August Wilhelm Ambros, “The Ethical and Religious Force in Beethoven,” trans. KGW, Dwight’s Journal of Music 30 (1871): 417; Oulibicheff, Beethoven (my translation); Vimenal, “La Neuvième symphonie,” 21. 56. Kroeger, “Marx’s Characterization,” 395. The Ninth in 19th-Century Criticism / 27 sically literate—is their reliance upon fictions of divine intervention to explain the genesis of the symphony. 58 A third tale symbolizes Beethoven’s compositional genius with an apparently withered rosebush that miraculously flowers when the composer’s hand touches it, thus reassuring him that his great gift still lives.

But more is wanted. ”50 What is particularly interesting about Schmitt’s discussion of the piece, which extended over several issues of Dwight’s Journal, is that these programmatic and hortatory assertions appear freely interwoven among purely technical sentences whose purpose is the dissection of theme from motive, phrase from section; to Schmitt, as apparently to his audience, there was no distinction between the two modes of approach that would accord superior explanatory status or validity to one over the other.

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