Save 40% on New & Notable German Studies Titles

The 2017 German Studies Association Conference convenes October 5 – 8 in Atlanta, GA.

Visit our landing page to browse new and forthcoming UC Press titles across various disciplines, including Cinema & Media Studies, Music, Art & Visual Culture, and History. Save 40% online with discount code 16E8104, or request an exam copy for consideration to use in your upcoming classes. The discount code expires December 31, 2017.

 


Classical Music Month: Celebrate with 30% Off

September is Classical Music Month. To celebrate, we’re offering 30% off our Classical Music titles.


 

Animation, Plasticity & Music in Italy, 1770–1830 by Ellen Lockhart

“This very innovative study illuminates such central categories of musical thought and practice as voice, gesture, performance, and the work. It will be read with much interest and pleasure not only by musicologists, but also by historians of dance, science, aesthetics, and philosophy, and by anybody who cares about the connections between music and the human body.”—Emanuele Senici, author of Landscape and Gender in Italian Opera

 

 

From 1989, or European Music and the Modernist Unconscious by Seth Brodsky

“Brilliantly written and argued, From 1989 is nothing less than a psychoanalysis of European musical modernism, and Brodsky, its nimble Lacanian analyst. Capacious, insightful, erudite, witty, paradoxical, and whip-smart, it is simply like nothing else in musicology today. It must be read.”—Brian Kane, author of Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice

 

 

Russian Music at Home and Abroad: New Essays by Richard Taruskin

“In surveying the continent of Russian music, Richard Taruskin has breathtakingly altered its scholarly appearance, displaying its arc in space as if through a telescope and its textures as if through a microscope. His new book casts a resolute and penetrating eye on contemporary Russia and the processes now underway there, which are shaping a new awareness of music within the cultural traditions that are at the heart of Russian spiritual life.”—Liudmila Koynatskaya, Saint Petersburg Conservatory

 

The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds by Martha Feldman (newly available in paperback)

“Rich in scholarship and filled with subtle analysis.” —Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books

“Meticulously researched, beautifully written and richly illustrated . . . In this book, as erudite as it is gripping, there is little to criticize.”—Cultural History

 

Art of Suppression: Confronting the Nazi Past in Histories of the Visual and Performing Arts by Pamela Potter

“[Potter’s] book unquestionably provides a ground-breaking historiographic foundation for understanding the mechanisms that stood behind the descriptions and analyses of the Third Reich and the cultural and artistic life of the Nazi state…. She raises significant questions related to myths about the unrestricted power of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes in all matters related to culture. And, most important, she hints at anti-democratic, authoritarian trends found in liberal and Western societies today where cultural life is ostensibly immune to intervention and coercion.”—Ha’aretz

 

The Thought of Music by Lawrence Kramer

“Kramer has been hugely successful in creating a community of formalist and hermeneutic analytical discourse that has inspired a new generation of thinkers to question music’s inherent meaning and value in contemporary society. . . a hugely important and timely work that should no doubt become the focus of much future work and pedagogy.”—Notes

 

 

Wagner, Schumann, and the Lessons of Beethoven’s Ninth by Christopher Alan Reynolds

“This is a multilayered book. It is on one level a formidable piece of forensic musical detective work displaying detailed critical understanding of the works in question through identification of influences and tracing of possible thematic cross-references across generic boundaries; on another it is a musically highly intelligent study of interactive compositional processes in the different but related guises of operatic and instrumental music.”—Music & Letters

 

Grand Opera: The Story of the Met by Charles and Mirella Affron

“This new history is an epic treat for the Metophile . . . an exhaustively researched, updated, thoughtful Met Opera history. The successive directors’ flaws and achievements are described with equanimity. It compellingly conveys the problems and the progress, the failures and the glories of the Metropolitan Opera.”—Carol L. Anderson, Wagner Notes

 


Save 30% with discount code 17W7196 (enter at checkout).

Browse more Classical Music titles on our site, or revisit content from last year’s #ClassicalMusicMonth blog series, including free downloads of related Open Access titles.


Classical Music Month: Wagner contra Nietzsche

By Karol Berger, author of Beyond Reason: Wagner contra Nietzsche

This guest post is in celebration of #ClassicalMusicMonth. Stay tuned for more posts throughout September, and enjoy free access to curated Classical Music articles.


In taking a close look at Wagner’s late music dramas, I followed two aims. First, I wanted to penetrate the “secret” of their large-scale form. From early on, the novelty of Wagner’s formal principles provoked skeptics. Nietzsche, the most perceptive of Wagner’s critics, quipped that the composer was “our greatest miniaturist in music,” thus at once praising Wagner’s ability to capture the most subtle stirrings of his characters’ souls in small but eloquently expressive gestures and blaming him for his inability to weld such gestures into larger wholes. The answer I found to this accusation turned out to be different from what I had expected. I began under the influence of Wagner’s own theories and these naturally emphasized the distance between the composer’s proposed innovations and the current operatic practice. Turning from the theories to the works themselves, I gradually discovered just how deeply indebted to traditional operatic procedures Wagner remained to the end. Today, my admiration for Wagner’s control over unprecedentedly long spans of time is greater than ever, but my understanding of how this control was achieved has been transformed.

Beyond Reason cover
Beyond Reason: Wagner contra Nietzsche (November 2016)

But Wagner was not only a great composer; he was also a significant dramatic poet and a restless thinker. The second aim that guided me here has been to see the ideological import of Wagner’s dramas against the background of the worldviews that were current in his lifetime and, in particular, to confront his works with Nietzsche’s critique. What connects the two aims is my conviction that a grasp of Wagner’s large forms affords insights into the dramatic and philosophical implications of his works. It turns out that the music dramas of Wagner’s later years reacted to every major component in the complex ideological landscape that emerged during his century, a landscape which, I believe, is still the one we inhabit today. The confrontation with Nietzsche, a rival cultural prophet, takes a particular urgency in this context, since what was at stake in the philosopher’s objections to the artist was precisely the ideological import of Wagner’s works.

Also here the direction my project took surprised me. Like so many people today, I had begun loving the music, but suspecting the message. Having finished the project, I still love the music and still find some aspects of the message disturbing, but disturbing for different reasons and in different works. My understanding of the Wagner-Nietzsche relationship has been transformed too. I had begun convinced first, that Nietzsche’s objections to Wagner were by and large well taken and second, that the study of their encounter would be likely to illuminate Wagner’s dramas, but not Nietzsche’s books. Today I still admire Nietzsche’s critical acumen, but I also see not only that Wagner’s works can defend themselves surprisingly effectively against some of the philosopher’s central strictures, but also that these works implicitly offer an unexpectedly perceptive critique of a number of Nietzsche’s most cherished doctrines. This is why I felt the need to amplify Nietzsche contra Wagner with Wagner contra Nietzsche.


Karol Berger is the Osgood Hooker Professor in Fine Arts, Department of Music, Stanford University. His award-winning books include Musica Ficta, A Theory of Art, and Bach’s Cycle, Mozart’s Arrow.