[lbo-talk] Adorno's Schubert

Charles Turner vze26m98 at optonline.net
Sun Apr 17 06:44:24 PDT 2011

On Apr 15, 2011, at 2:46 PM, Doug Henwood wrote:

> I once said to some big Adorno jock that I was surprised that he liked Schubert, given how sweet he could be, and how little development goes on in his music. The Adorno guy pointed out that "liking" had nothing to do with it - it was all about ideas or something.

There's lots of room for regret in offering interpretation of that essay on a first read. 5000 words in two paragraphs!

The mention of Schubert's "second practice" a little more than midway through really caught my eye. It makes a connection to the seconda pratica of the Artusi-Monteverdi debates circa 1600, an argument on Monteverdi's part for musical form based on the rhetorical motivation of melody as equal to the harmonically-based theories of Zarlino.

I don't know whether Adorno's implying Beethoven as a 19th century "prima pratica," but with all of A's talk of a Schubertian landscape, I wonder whether Adorno is also suggesting that, in contrast to Wagner's aeschylean tragedies, Schubert offers some Germanic revitalization of pastoral tragi-comedy? A replacement of Orpheo with "the wanderer."

Anyway, here some stuff if you have an interest:


Essays by Claude Palisca that relate the seconda pratica to the literary culture of the Renaissance, some music of course, and for those who don't have the Adorno, his essay.

(As usual, it'll all come down around 25 downloads or the next day, whichever comes later.)

Best wishes, Charles

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