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German Music Criticism in the Late Eighteenth Century

Aesthetic Issues in Instrumental Music

German Music Criticism in the Late Eighteenth Century by Mary Sue Morrow
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Music aesthetics in late eighteenth-century Germany has always been problematic because there was no aesthetic theory to evaluate the enormous amount of high-quality instrumental music produced by composers like Haydn and Mozart. This book derives a practical aesthetic for German instrumental music during the late eighteenth century from a previously neglected source, reviews of printed instrumental works. At a time when the theory of mimesis dominated aesthetic thought, leaving sonatas and symphonies at the very bottom of the aesthetic hierarchy, a group of reviewers were quietly setting about the task of evaluating instrumental music on its own terms. The reviews document an intersection with trends in literature and philosophy, and reveal interest in criteria like genius, the expressive power of music, and the necessity of unity, several decades earlier than has previously been supposed.
Cambridge University Press; September 1997
269 pages; ISBN 9780511835933
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Title: German Music Criticism in the Late Eighteenth Century
Author: Mary Sue Morrow