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University of California Press
The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays / Edition 1

The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays / Edition 1

by Richard TaruskinRichard Taruskin
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The Danger of Music gathers some two decades of Richard Taruskin's writing on the arts and politics, ranging in approach from occasional pieces for major newspapers such as the New York Times to full-scale critical essays for leading intellectual journals. Hard-hitting, provocative, and incisive, these essays consider contemporary composition and performance, the role of critics and historians in the life of the arts, and the fraught terrain where ethics and aesthetics interact and at times conflict. Many of the works collected here have themselves excited wide debate, including the title essay, which considers the rights and obligations of artists in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a series of lively postscripts written especially for this volume, Taruskin, America's "public" musicologist, addresses the debates he has stirred up by insisting that art is not a utopian escape and that artists inhabit the same world as the rest of society. Among the book's forty-two essays are two public addresses—one about the prospects for classical music at the end of the second millennium C. E., the other a revisiting of the performance issues previously discussed in the author's Text and Act (1995)—that appear in print for the first time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520268050
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 11/11/2010
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 506
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Richard Taruskin is Class of 1955 Chair of Music at the University of California, Berkeley and is the author of Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions (UC Press), among many other books.

Table of Contents

Preface: Against Utopia ix

1 Et in Arcadia Ego; or, I Didn't Know I Was Such a Pessimist until I Wrote This Thing (a talk) 1

From the New York Times, mostly

2 Only Time Will Cover the Taint 21

3 "Nationalism": Colonialism in Disguise" 25

4 Why Do They All Hate Horowitz" 30

5 Optimism amid the Rubble 37

6 A Survivor from the Teutonic Train Wreck 43

7 Does Nature Call the Tune" 46

8 Two Stabs at the Universe 51

Away with the Ives Myth: The "Universe" Is Here at Last 51

Out of Hibernation: Ives's Mythical Beast 55

9 In Search of the "Good" Hindemith Legacy 60

10 Six Times Six: A Bach Suite Selection 66

11 A Beethoven Season" 71

12 Dispelling the Contagious Wagnerian Mist 81

13 How Talented Composers Become Useless 86

14 Making a Stand against Sterility 94

15 A Sturdy Musical Bridge to the Twenty-first Century 98

16 Calling All Pundits: No More Predictions! 104

17 In The Rake's Progress, Love Conquers (Almost) All 109

18 Markevitch as Icarus 118

19 Let's Rescue Poor Schumann from His Rescuers 124

20 Early Music: Truly Old-Fashioned at Last" 129

21 Bartók and Stravinsky: Odd Couple Reunited" 133

22 Wagner's Antichrist Crashes a Pagan Party 138

23 A Surrealist Composer Comes to the Rescue of Modernism 144

24 Corraling a Herd of Musical Mavericks 153

25 Can We Give Poor Orff a Pass at Last" 161

26 The Danger of Music and the Case for Control 168

27 Ezra Pound: A Slim Sound Claim to Musical Immortality 181

28 Underneath the Dissonance Beat a Brahmsian Heart 186

29 Enter Boris Goudenow, Just 295 Years Late 191

For the New Republic, mostly

30 The First Modernist 195

31 The Dark Side of the Moon 202

32 Of Kings and Divas 217

33 The Golden Age of Kitsch 241

34 No Ear for Music: The Scary Purity of John Cage 261

35 Sacred Entertainments 280

36 The Poietic Fallacy 301

37 The Musical Mystique: Defending Classical Music against Its Devotees 330

From the scholarly press

38 Revising Revision 354

39 Back to Whom" Neoclassicism as Ideology 382

40 She Do the Ring in Different Voices 406

41 Stravinsky and Us 420


42 Setting Limits (a talk) 447

Index 467

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This is one of the most important books about music you'll read this year. . . . No one has bridged the gap between music scholarship and mainstream media as virtuosically as Taruskin."—The Guardian

"Very entertaining."—New York Review of Books

"A collection of essays by the fearsomely intelligent Berkeley-based musicologist [offering] a passionately engaging perspective."—The Guardian

"Intellectually generous compendium that merits serious and sustained engagement."—Classical Music Magazine

"A stimulating book that offers a wide range of topics and ideas."—Music Educators Journal

Customer Reviews