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Kritikerdämmerung: Heinrich Schenker and music journalism

Kritikerdämmerung: Heinrich Schenker and music journalism
Kritikerdämmerung: Heinrich Schenker and music journalism
Despite the steady amount of research that has gone into the life and mind of Viennese music theorist Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935) in recent decades, certain facets of his thinking continue to puzzle scholars. These include the question of how a thinker nowadays highly regarded for his considerable powers of insight into the music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven came to hold views that were bigoted, odious, and militantly German-nationalist. This thesis confronts the issue by recapturing Schenker’s hitherto uncharted engagement with one of the phenomena of modern life that he vocally rejected: music journalism. Although a profession that is today considered as duly coexisting with the musical academy that Schenker’s analytical practice helped to shape, he was far less tolerant of what was written about music in the only mass medium of its day. This study offers a close reading of a variety of archival sources that include an unpublished essay on music criticism by the theorist as well as his diary and correspondence, most of which is newly accessible through Schenker Documents Online. In order to situate his thinking within the cultural hothouse of his day, my research also draws on an selection of newspaper articles, mostly on the subject of criticism, that Schenker deemed significant enough to file with his own papers. As a result of this procedure, this study establishes Schenker’s trepidations about music journalism and assesses their context. It reveals his critical view of journalism as a manifestation of individualism and democracy escalating alongside the rapid social and artistic transformations that he witnessed after the turn of the twentieth century. It also illustrates his increasingly agitated perception of music journalism as directly damaging his career. Finally, this thesis demonstrates how, in the course of the 1910s, Schenker came to conflate his antagonism towards one particular journalist, German critic Paul Bekker, with his embrace of German nationalism. By engaging not only with Schenker’s writings but also his reading materials, this study locates his thinking within that of his contemporaries and, as a result, helps us make sense of some of his often opaque assertions about art, society, and criticism.
University of Southampton
Burgstaller, Georg
025c09a2-045b-45ba-8916-90bae0e37f8e
Burgstaller, Georg
025c09a2-045b-45ba-8916-90bae0e37f8e
Reiter, Andrea I
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Burgstaller, Georg (2015) Kritikerdämmerung: Heinrich Schenker and music journalism. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 290pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Despite the steady amount of research that has gone into the life and mind of Viennese music theorist Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935) in recent decades, certain facets of his thinking continue to puzzle scholars. These include the question of how a thinker nowadays highly regarded for his considerable powers of insight into the music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven came to hold views that were bigoted, odious, and militantly German-nationalist. This thesis confronts the issue by recapturing Schenker’s hitherto uncharted engagement with one of the phenomena of modern life that he vocally rejected: music journalism. Although a profession that is today considered as duly coexisting with the musical academy that Schenker’s analytical practice helped to shape, he was far less tolerant of what was written about music in the only mass medium of its day. This study offers a close reading of a variety of archival sources that include an unpublished essay on music criticism by the theorist as well as his diary and correspondence, most of which is newly accessible through Schenker Documents Online. In order to situate his thinking within the cultural hothouse of his day, my research also draws on an selection of newspaper articles, mostly on the subject of criticism, that Schenker deemed significant enough to file with his own papers. As a result of this procedure, this study establishes Schenker’s trepidations about music journalism and assesses their context. It reveals his critical view of journalism as a manifestation of individualism and democracy escalating alongside the rapid social and artistic transformations that he witnessed after the turn of the twentieth century. It also illustrates his increasingly agitated perception of music journalism as directly damaging his career. Finally, this thesis demonstrates how, in the course of the 1910s, Schenker came to conflate his antagonism towards one particular journalist, German critic Paul Bekker, with his embrace of German nationalism. By engaging not only with Schenker’s writings but also his reading materials, this study locates his thinking within that of his contemporaries and, as a result, helps us make sense of some of his often opaque assertions about art, society, and criticism.

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Published date: June 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Modern Languages

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Local EPrints ID: 378160
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/378160
PURE UUID: 03093aaf-6ac4-48c3-804b-260a5706256c

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Date deposited: 14 Jul 2015 10:13
Last modified: 24 Jul 2019 04:01

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