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Bach's Cycle, Mozart's ArrowAn Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity$
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Karol Berger

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520250918

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520250918.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 October 2019

Postlude Postlude Between Utopia and MelancholyBeethoven and the Aesthetic State

Postlude Postlude Between Utopia and MelancholyBeethoven and the Aesthetic State

Chapter:
(p.293) Postlude Between Utopia and Melancholy
Source:
Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow
Author(s):

Karol Berger

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520250918.003.0011

This chapter shows the extent to which the self-confidence that culminated in The Magic Flute was undermined as the Revolution failed to achieve its democratic goals, arguing that the traditional image of Beethoven as the tone poet of the heroic Revolutionary and Napoleonic history, while not false, is one-sided. The Beethovenian abstraction out of time is the obverse of the Beethovenian heroic quest and its temporal teleology. Similarly to Rousseau's writing, Beethoven's composition is torn between the ideal of engagement in the historical social world and the wish to disengage from it, to escape into the private refuge beyond or within. In Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the ideal of engagement in the historical social world of an emancipating autonomous humanity is nostalgically commemorated as an infinitely postponed utopia, thus transcending in a complex way the simple opposition of cyclical and linear time.

Keywords:   Magic Flute, Revolution, Beethoven, Ninth Symphony, cyclical time, linear time

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