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By Alexander Rehding

A couple of weeks after the reunification of Germany, Leonard Bernstein raised his baton above the ruins of the Berlin Wall and performed a different association of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. The crucial assertion of the paintings, that "all males can be brothers," captured the sentiment of these who observed a brighter destiny for the newly reunited kingdom. This now-iconic functionality is a palpable instance of "musical monumentality" - an important proposal which underlies our cultural and ideological knowing of Western paintings tune because the nineteenth-century. even though the idea that was once first raised within the earliest years of musicological learn within the Thirties, a lovely exploration of the "monumental" in track has no longer but been made. Alexander Rehding, one of many brightest younger stars within the box, takes at the activity in Resounding Monumentality, a chic, thorough remedy that would function a origin for all destiny dialogue during this zone. Rehding units his specialise in the most gamers of the interval in the Austro-German repertoire -Beethoven, Liszt, Wagner, Brahms, Bruckner and Mahler- as he unpacks a two-fold definition of "musical monumentality." within the traditional feel, monumentality is a stylistic estate frequently defined as 'grand,' 'uplifting,' and 'sublime' and rife with overpowering brass chorales, gleaming string tremolos, victorious fanfares, and excellent thematic returns. but Rehding sees the huge in track acting a cultural activity in addition: it really is hired within the provider of creating nationwide id. via a transparent theoretical lens, Rehding examines how grand sound results are strategically hired with the view to overwhelming audiences, how supposedly immutable musical halls of reputation switch over the years, how demanding musical works are domesticated, how the top cultural achievements are provided in instantly consumable form-in a notice, how German track emerges as a unified cultural and musical model.

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It was in fact well over a century after the appeal of the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung before anyone attempted to capture monumentality in exclusively musical terms. ) We see in this definition that both aspects that we just took apart temporarily, historical and aesthetic, appear in neat unity. As if in keeping with the eighteenth-century roots of musical monumentality, Schering’s idea was epitomized by Handel’s and Bach’s music. 28 | music and monumentality Meanwhile, such clear-cut definitions are few and far between.

76 Again, it was Nietzsche who pinpointed, caustically but concisely, the stakes of the monumental task of German music. With reference to the increased importance of nationalism in the wake of the revolutions of 1848/49, he wrote: 42 | music and monumentality Today German music is more than any other, the music of Europe, if only because it alone has given expression to the transformation of Europe through the Revolution. 77 Nothing would be more misguided than to consider Nietzsche’s appraisal of a European quality in German music as an admission that he would buy into the frequent claims of its cosmopolitan nature.

It is by no means a paradox that the passages that Reissmann dismissed as banal and overused are the same kind as those to which Nietzsche assigned hypnotic power. Without being aware of what he was doing, Reissmann’s observation also brings into play a factor that is crucial to the concept of musical monumentality: Reissmann conceded that the audience reacts differently to such musical effects. The mass of amateurs, whose artistic instincts Reissmann did not trust, is highly susceptible to those effects that are also claimed by monumentality.

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