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By Alexander Rehding

A number of weeks after the reunification of Germany, Leonard Bernstein raised his baton above the ruins of the Berlin Wall and carried out a different association of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. The principal assertion of the paintings, that "all males could be brothers," captured the sentiment of these who observed a brighter destiny for the newly reunited country. This now-iconic functionality is a palpable instance of "musical monumentality" - an important thought which underlies our cultural and ideological realizing of Western paintings tune because the nineteenth-century. even though the concept that was once first raised within the earliest years of musicological research within the Nineteen Thirties, a lovely exploration of the "monumental" in tune has now not but been made. Alexander Rehding, one of many brightest younger stars within the box, takes at the job in Resounding Monumentality, a chic, thorough remedy that may function a beginning for all destiny dialogue during this region. Rehding units his specialise in the most avid 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, successful fanfares, and excellent thematic returns. but Rehding sees the enormous in track acting a cultural activity in addition: it's hired within the carrier of building nationwide identification. 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 popularity switch over the years, how difficult musical works are domesticated, how the top cultural achievements are offered in instantly consumable form-in a notice, how German track emerges as a unified cultural and musical model.

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Ultimately, this is the strength of the mountain metaphor: it refuses to pin down anything; it does not explain anything but it presents everything in suggestive and awesome ambiguity. 43 In fact, the invocation of mountain ranges is as frequent as thorough explanations of the nature of monumentality are rare. 44 The awkward fact that no one had succeeded in delineating this ideal with general rules did not deter historians of the time from continuing to have faith in and endorse this transcendent but elusive canon.

To accept this discrepancy as significant, and to accept the layperson’s reaction as fully legitimate, however, would lead to painful consequences. It is no less than an admission that monumental effect and normative artistic values might diverge. An approach, however, that aims to pinpoint monumentality in the structure of the composition, such as Schering’s, cannot accommodate a differentiated listening experience because a piece’s artistic values are supposed to be conveyed by means of the sounding structure.

From Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, March 12 1800, Beilage. Reproduced by permission of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard College Library. Christmann addressed himself directly to the eighteenth century, in assessing the value of Haydn, one of the principal heroes of his reflections: Perhaps you sensed the value of this rare man [Haydn] even before he could compete for the laurel wreath which now decks his brow. 16 Christmann went on to outline the institutional achievements of the eighteenth century, such as they are: besides his gratitude for the great composers and for musical typeset, he also lavished praise on the instrumental pedagogical treatises of his time, the publishing industry, a recognition of musical talent, the evolution of German opera, and finally even music criticism, theory, and the musical chroniclers of the century, Burney and Forkel.

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