Adorno on Music by Robert W. Witkin

By Robert W. Witkin

Publish yr note: First released February nineteenth 1998

More than 1/2 the printed works of Theodor Adorno have been dedicated to his reviews in song. As his attractiveness has grown in recent times, in spite of the fact that, Adorno’s paintings on track has remained a overlooked quarter as a result of its musicological complexity.

This is the 1st distinctive account of Adorno’s texts on track from a sociological viewpoint. In transparent, non-technical language, Robert Witkin publications the reader in the course of the complexities of Adorno’s argument in regards to the hyperlinks among tune and morality and among musical works and social constitution. Separate chapters deal with his therapy of Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler and Berg, Schoenberg, Stravinsky and at last jazz. all through, Witkin develops a sociology of the artwork in which Adorno’s writings on song may be understood. It used to be via those works greater than any others that Adorno proven the precise of the humanities to be said as an ethical and important strength within the improvement of a latest society. by way of convalescing them for non-musicologists, Witkin provides immeasurably to our appreciation of this massive of twentieth-century notion.

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G . existentialism and phenomenology. These , too , seek to absolurise the subject, which then ceases to be a relational structure constituted through interaction with others and becomes, instead, an 'initself', its claim to 'aut hent ic being' resting upon the extent to which it is autochthonous and entirely and sovereignly at its own disposal, free of all determination by others. This Nominalist disintegration culminates, for him, in the advance of various twentieth-century philosophies, most noticeably existentialist and phenomenological philosophies such as those of Husserl, Heidegger and Kierkegaard .

It is through the recapirulation that the subject demonstrates its power to rerum to itself no matter how far it has travelled . . through the recapirulation, the subject seems not only to bring together within itself, but acrually to derive from within itself, the principles of dynamic development (historical change) and fixed eternal order (unchangeable identity) and to synthesise the two in a higher level of reality. (R. Subotnik 1976: 248) This equating of part-whole relations in musical compositions with the mediated relations of 'individual' and 'society' is fundamental in all Adorno's theorising of mus ic.

The internal time of the drama is always the present, but the drama is never static. The present passes and becomes the past. As it passes away, it produces change: 'a new present springs from its antithesis'. The drama unfolds as an absolute linear sequence in the present; it generates its own time. Every moment in it must contain the seeds of the future, must be pregnant with futurity. This reflects the drama's dialectical structure - its historicity - which is rooted in interpersonal relations: Ultimately, the whole world of the Drama is dialectical in origin.

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