"Song Loves the Masses" and "From 1989": A Selected Bibliography

February 5th, 2018

Distinguished ethnomusicologist Philip V. Bohlman compiles Johann Gottfried Herder’s writings on music and nationalism, from his early volumes of Volkslieder through sacred song to the essays on aesthetics late in his life, shaping them as the book on music that Herder would have written had he gathered the many strands of his musical thought into a single publication. Framed by analytical chapters and extensive introductions to each translation, this book interprets Herder’s musings on music to think through several major questions: What meaning did religion and religious thought have for Herder? Why do the nation and nationalism acquire musical dimensions at the confluence of aesthetics and religious thought? How did his aesthetic and musical thought come to transform the way Herder understood music and nationalism and their presence in global history? Bohlman uses the mode of translation to explore Herder’s own interpretive practice as a translator of languages and cultures, providing today’s readers with an elegantly narrated and exceptionally curated collection of essays on music by two major intellectuals.

What happened to musical modernism? When did it end? Did it end? In this unorthodox Lacanian account of European New Music, Seth Brodsky focuses on the unlikely year 1989, when New Music hardly takes center stage. Instead one finds Rostropovich playing Bach at Checkpoint Charlie; or Bernstein changing “Joy” to “Freedom” in Beethoven’s Ninth; or David Hasselhoff lip-synching “Looking for Freedom” to thousands on New Year’s Eve. But if such spectacles claim to master their historical moment, New Music unconsciously takes the role of analyst. In so doing, it restages earlier scenes of modernism. As world politics witnesses a turning away from the possibility of revolution, musical modernism revolves in place, performing century-old tasks of losing, failing, and beginning again, in preparation for a revolution to come. Philip V. Bohlman and Seth Brodsky will discuss Song Loves the Masses: Herder on Music and Nationalism and From 1989, or European Music and the Modernist Unconscious on Monday, February 12 at 6pm at the Co-op.

Focus: Music, Nationalism, and the Making of the New Europe, by Philip V. Bohlman - A monograph that examines the ways in which music both creates and reflects the contexts of European nationalism, beginning with the Enlightenment and culminating with the rise of the New Europe after 1989 and its fragility in the 2010s.

After Herder: Philosophy of Language in the German Tradition, by Michael N. Forster - An assessment of European thought, especially the emergence of the philosophy of language, under the influence of Johann Gottfried Herder's seminal writings at the end of the 18th century. Forster is a distinguished philosopher at the University of Chicago.

Sculpture: Some Observations on Shape and Form from Pygmalion's Creative Dream, by Johann Gottfried Herder - A insightful translation of one of Herder's earliest monographs on aesthetics by Jason Gaiger, written during the same decade of the 1770s at which time Herder undertook his major music projects.

Selected Writings on Aesthetics, by Johann Gottfried Herder - Gregory Moore's fine translation of a full range of critical writings on aesthetics by Herder, from works of his youth until his final essays.

Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology, by John H. Zammito - A critical assessment of the role Herder and his teacher, Immanuel Kant, in the foundation of anthropology and the social sciences in the late Enlightenment.

The Sublime Object of Ideology, by Slavoj Žižek

Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism, by T.J. Clark

Essays on Music, by Theodor W. Adorno, ed. Richard Leppert

Aesthetic Theory, by Theodor W. Adorno

About the authors: Philip V. Bohlman is Ludwig Rosenberger Distinguished Service Professor of Music and the Humanities at the University of Chicago, where he is also Artistic Director of the ensemble-in-residence, The New Budapest Orpheum Society.

Seth Brodsky is Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities at the University of Chicago. He is the author of From 1989, or European Music and the Modernist Unconscious (California, 2017), and has published on such topics as opera, influence, and the music of John Cage and Benjamin Britten. He is currently at work on a book about music, psychoanalysis, and repetition.

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