Quasi Una Fantasia Essays on Modern Music

ISBN-10: 1844677923
ISBN-13: 9781844677924
Edition: 2012
List price: $24.95 Buy it from $12.11
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Description: In its analytical profundity it can be compared to his Philosophy of Modern Music, but in the range of its topics and the clarity of its arguments it stands alone among Adorno's writings on music. Especially significant is Adorno's "dialectical  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 1/16/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 348
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

In its analytical profundity it can be compared to his Philosophy of Modern Music, but in the range of its topics and the clarity of its arguments it stands alone among Adorno's writings on music. Especially significant is Adorno's "dialectical portrait" of Stravinsky in which he both reconsiders and refines the damning indictment he gave in Philosophy on Modern Music. More unexpectedly, there are moving accounts of earlier works, including Bizet's Carmen and Weber's Der Freischutz, along with an entertainingly caustic "Natural History of the Theatre," which explores the hierarchies of the auditorium, from upper circle to foyer. 'The positive element of kitsch', Adorno remarks, 'lies in the fact that it sets free for a moment the glimmering realization that you have wasted your life.' Yet even while Adorno demolishes 'commodity music' he is sustained by the conviction that music is supremely human because it retains the capacity to speak of inhumanity and to resist it. It is a conviction which reverberates throughout these writings. For Adorno, music and philosophy were inextricably linked: Quasi una Fantasia will enlarge our understanding of both.

Theodor W. Adorno is the progenitor of critical theory, a central figure in aesthetics, and the century's foremost philosopher of music. He was born and educated in Frankfurt, Germany. After completing his Ph.D. in philosophy, he went to Vienna, where he studied composition with Alban Berg. He soon was bitterly disappointed with his own lack of talent and turned to musicology. In 1928 Adorno returned to Frankfurt to join the Institute for Social Research, commonly known as The Frankfurt School. At first a privately endowed center for Marxist studies, the school was merged with Frankfort's university under Adorno's directorship in the 1950s. As a refugee from Nazi Germany during World War II, Adorno lived for several years in Los Angeles before returning to Frankfurt. Much of his most significant work was produced at that time. Critics find Adorno's aesthetics to be rich in insight, even when they disagree with its broad conclusions. Although Adorno was hostile to jazz and popular music, he advanced the cause of contemporary music by writing seminal studies of many key composers. To the distress of some of his admirers, he remained pessimistic about the prospects for art in mass society. Adorno was a neo-Marxist who believed that the only hope for democracy was to be found in an interpretation of Marxism opposed to both positivism and dogmatic materialism. His opposition to positivisim and advocacy of a method of dialectics grounded in critical rationalism propelled him into intellectual conflict with Georg Hegel, Martin Heidegger, and Heideggerian hermeneutics.

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