Essays on Music

Essays on Music

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Hans Keller (1919-1985) was one of the most brilliant and stimulating writers on music of his day, and this is the first large selection of his essays. His work draws on his rich and diverse experience as a string-player, composer, teacher, analyst and critic, and also reflects a deep interest in psychoanalysis. The first part of the book addresses psychological issues relating to critics, listeners, players and composers; the second analyses music by a wide range of composers from Haydn to the present day; and the third propounds his new theory of music, with essays on unity and contrast, motifs, themes, keys, timbre and rhythm. There is also a 'wordless functional analysis' of a Mozart piano sonata published here for the first time. The volume concludes with a magisterial account of what Keller deemed to be 'the principles of composition'.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 292 pages
  • 168 x 240 x 24mm | 580.6g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Pbk Version ed.
  • 6 b/w illus. 64 music examples
  • 0521673488
  • 9780521673488
  • 1,540,563

Review quote

'Brilliantly selected essays' BBC Music Magazine 'Christopher Wintle's outstandingly empathetic introduction that would seem best to encapsulate the style and ongoing purpose of this collection of musical (and I choose the word with care) writings as representative of 'Keller's crusade'.' Musical Times
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Table of contents

Preface; Acknowledgments; A Note on the Text; Introduction; Part I. Criticism: 1. Problems in writing about music; 2. Resistances to Britten's music: their psychology; 3. National frontiers in music; 4. Sport and art: the concept of mastery; 5. Music and psychopathology; Part II. Composers and Their Music: 6. Art as departure (Haydn); 7. New Music: Beethoven's Choral Fantasy; 8. Schubert: tune and melody; 9. Little known greatness (Mendelssohn and Mozart); 10. Schumann was a symphonist; 11. Tristan and the realism of adolescence (Wagner); 12. Resistances to Brahms; 13. Elgar the progressive; 14. The unpopularity of Mahler's popularity; 15. The sentimental violin (Glazounov); 16. The 'Lucky' Hand and other errors (Schoenberg); 17. Natural master (Schmidt); 18. Schoenberg: A Survivor from Warsaw ; 19. Film music: The Harry Lime theme (Karas and Weill); 20. Matyas Seiber 1905-1960; 21. Gloriana as music drama (a reaffirmation) (Britten); 22. Shostakovich's Twelfth Quartet; 23. Stravinsky v. Stravinsky; 24. The state of the symphony: not only Maxwell Davies's; 25. Britten's last masterpiece; 26. The Man and the Music (Simpson); Part III. Towards a Theory of Music: 27. Towards a theory of music; 28. The musical analysis of music; 29. Functional Analysis No. 9A: Mozart's Piano Sonata in A minor, K 310; 30. A slip of Mozart's: Its analytical significance (1956/57); 31. Knowing things backwards; 32. Mozart's wrong key signature; 33. Key characteristics; 34. Strict serial technique in classical music; 35. Schoenberg: the future of symphonic thought; 36. Whose fault is the speaking voice? 37. Why this piece is about Billy Budd; 38. Rhythm: Gershwin and Stravinsky; 39. Principles of composition; Notes; Index.
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