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Listening to reason : culture, subjectivity, and nineteenth-century music / Michael P. Steinberg.


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Steinberg, Michael P.
Publication date:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2004.
  • Book
  • xiv, 246 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • List of Illustrations ix Preface xi INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER ONE Staging Subjectivity in the Mozart/Da Ponte Operas 18 Staging Subjectivity 18 Don Giovanni and the Scene of Patricide 23 Le nozze di Figaro and the Scene of Emancipation 39 Cosi'fan tutte and the Scene of Instruction 51 CHAPTER TWO Beethoven: Heroism and Abstraction 59 Heroism and Abstraction 59 Heroism and Anxiety 67 Fidelio 73 The Symphony No.9 84 CHAPTER THREE Canny and Uncanny Histories in Biedermeier Music 94 Biedermeier Music 94 Mendelssohn's Canny Histories 97 Schumann's Uncanny Histories 122 Back to Schubert 131 CHAPTER FOUR The Family Romances of Music Drama 133 The Family Romances of Music Drama 133 Siegmund's Death 142 Subjectivity and Identity 153 CHAPTER FIVE The Voice of the People at the Moment of the Nation 163 People and Nations 163 Brahms, 1868 174 Verdi, 1874 178 Dvorak, 1890 186 CHAPTER SIX Minor Modernisms 193 Music Trauma, or, Is There Life after Wagner? 193 Three Fins de Siecle 202 The Road into the Open 220 CHAPTER SEVEN The Musical Unconscious 226 Index 237.
  • (source: Nielsen Book Data)
Publisher's Summary:
This pathbreaking work reveals the pivotal role of music - musical works and musical culture - in debates about society, self, and culture that forged European modernity through the "long nineteenth century." Michael Steinberg argues that, from the late 1700s to the early 1900s, music not only reflected but also embodied modern subjectivity as it increasingly engaged and criticized old regimes of power, belief, and representation. His purview ranges from Mozart to Mahler, and from the sacred to the secular, including opera as well as symphonic and solo instrumental music. Defining subjectivity as the experience rather than the position of the "I, " Steinberg argues that music's embodiment of subjectivity involved its apparent capacity to "listen" to itself, its past, its desires. Nineteenth-century music, in particular music from a north German Protestant sphere, inspired introspection in a way that the music and art of previous periods, notably the Catholic baroque with its emphasis on the visual, did not. The book analyzes musical subjectivity initially from Mozart through Mendelssohn, then seeks it, in its central chapter, in those aspects of Wagner that contradict his own ideological imperialism, before finally uncovering its survival in the post-Wagnerian recovery from musical and other ideologies. Engagingly written yet theoretically sophisticated, Listening to Reason represents a stratlingly original corrective to cultural history's long-standing inhibition to engage with music while presenting a powerful alternative vision of the modern.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)

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