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Ruth Solie

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238459

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238459.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Beethoven as Secular Humanist

Beethoven as Secular Humanist

Ideology and the Ninth Symphony in Nineteenth-Century Criticism

(p.5) 1 Beethoven as Secular Humanist
Music in Other Words

Ruth A. Solie

University of California Press

This chapter exhibits the link between music and religious, philosophical, and political ideologies during the nineteenth century in Europe. Nineteenth-century compositions gradually became larger, as audiences became accustomed to concert-going as a mass social activity. The anti-Wagnerian Selmar Bagge characterizes Beethoven's forms as fairly usual with some modifications, identifying the finale as a fantasy to which the composer has joined aspects of variation in form. Exegeses or “programs” of the Ninth Sympathy fall roughly categorized into four sections that include search narratives, creation myths, accounts that interpret the piece as autobiographical on Beethoven's part, and those that content themselves with more general assessments of moral instruction. The catalog of exegetic excess mentioned by Schumann in connection with the Ninth Symphony involves the creation myth, which is a prominent one. The Ninth gave rise to an apparently unique fictional genre, a collection of originary myths focusing on that work itself.

Keywords:   Ninth Symphony, creation myths, instrumental music, melodic structures, symphonic messages

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