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Looking for the "Harp" Quartet

Looking for the "Harp" Quartet: An Investigation into Musical Beauty

Markand Thakar
Volume: 82
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 233
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81hns
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  • Book Info
    Looking for the "Harp" Quartet
    Book Description:

    This book is a philosophical tour through the experience of beauty: what it is, and how the composer, performer, and listener all contribute. It explores - with insight, patience, and humor - profound issues at the essence of our experience. A student performance of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, known as the "Harp," serves as a point of departure and a recurring theme. For the layperson the core of the book is five dialogues between Icarus, an inquiring student intensely concerned with fulfilling his highest potential as a musician, and Daedalus, a curmudgeonly, iconoclastic teacher who guides Icarus's search. Three technical articles, geared to the music professional and academic, treat the issues in greater depth. Supplementary online audio files and musical examples. Markand Thakar is Charles A. & Carolyn M. Russell Music Director, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra; music director, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra; principal conductor, Duluth Festival Opera; and codirector of the graduate conducting program, Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-774-2
    Subjects: Music
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Note about Online Supporting Material (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Part One: Dialogues
    • Chapter One Looking for the “Harp” Quartet (pp. 3-18)

      Daedalus: Welcome back!

      Icarus: Thanks. I’m glad to be back at school.

      D: (laughing) We’ll fix that. So how did you spend your summer?

      I: It seems like all I did is eat, sleep, and breathe the “Harp” Quartet of Beethoven.

      D: Why the “Harp” Quartet?

      I: I’m performing it this year. And my quartet was able to get together to work on it over the past few weeks.

      D: Wonderful. How have you worked on it?

      I: Well, we spent a lot of time rehearsing it, and we’ve listened to a recording of it. Then I did a harmonic...

    • Chapter Two Renoir and the Survival of Classical Music: On the Listener’s Contribution (pp. 19-39)

      Daedalus: It’s good to see you. How are you?

      Icarus: Discouraged.

      D: Discouraged?

      I: You heard us on the big end-of-semester concert. It was exhausting. We worked very hard.

      D: And you don’t feel good about your performance?

      I: Well, yeah, maybe the performance went okay, but it’s the story of my life: an artistic success and a public failure.

      D: Why do you say public failure? I thought the audience reaction was quite favorable.

      I: Sure, all six of them. Geez, there were almost as many people on stage as there were in the audience.

      D: Yes, I’m sure...

    • Chapter Three Let’s Be Mookie: On the Composer’s Contribution (pp. 40-75)

      Icarus: (knocking on the window) Good morning!

      Daedalus: Why, good morning. Come in. It’s cold out there. What are you doing out this early? And on such a morning.

      I: (shivering) Oh I was just out for a walk, and saw signs of life in the greenhouse, so I thought I would say hello. Working on your flowers?

      D: Yes, just trying to give these buds an even chance in an inhospitable world. My, that must have been some walk. So . . . something is troubling you?

      I: As a matter of fact, I’ve been busy being humbled by...

    • Chapter Four Gurus: On the Performer’s Contribution (pp. 76-116)

      Icarus: To what do we owe the honor? Or is this some kind of April Fool’s trick?

      Daedalus: No, I really was here at the Symphony concert tonight.

      I: Troglodyte! What’s the occasion?

      D: Guilty as charged. But every so often I have to see how the real world lives, just to know I’m not missing anything. So you’re subbing in the orchestra this week. Did you enjoy it? Did you really enjoy it? Did it move you?

      I: It was certainly rewarding fi nancially. It’s a great orchestra; we played well, and there were two or three stunningly beautiful...

    • Chapter Five First, Last, and Always (pp. 117-128)

      Daedalus: Congratulations. I wasn’t sure you would make it this far, but you’re graduating, let’s see, tomorrow, isn’t it?

      Icarus: Yes it’s tomorrow afternoon. And I have very mixed feelings. It’s time to join the real world. But I’ll miss our talks. You’ve taught me a lot.

      D: No, I’m quite sure I haven’t. In fact, no one has ever taught you anything.

      I: I know, you think I’m insufferably arrogant. But the fact is that you’ve taught me an awful lot; things that are very important to me.

      D: Of course you’re insufferably arrogant. But that’s not what I...

  7. Part Two: Articles
    • Chapter Six Remembrance of Things Future: On the Listener’s Contribution (pp. 131-146)

      In The Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness, Edmund Husserl distinguishes between the two temporal perspectives from which we experience: the present and the now.¹ The present has duration; it is the temporal perspective from which we experience the temporally extended object of a single act of consciousness. A new act of consciousness takes place in a new present; each new act of consciousness effects the end of the previous present. This is easily demonstrated. Clap twice in quick succession, and focus on the sounds. The succession of clap sounds is a temporally extended object, which we hear in a single act...

    • Chapter Seven Patterns of Energy: On the Composer’s Contributions (pp. 147-161)

      Musical works have long been classified into standardized forms on the basis of the nature of the material (i.e., A theme, B theme, development, coda, episode) and the key relationships. But form is not like the design of a walkway that might be made as easily of brick, or stone, or concrete, or logs. Nor is it an arbitrary shaping applied to the musical material, like a hairdo to hair or a clipping to a hedge. Rather, the material determines its unfolding; the structure determines its material.

      The fundamental purpose of music is to lead to that transcendent experience we...

    • Chapter Eight Dynamic Analysis: On the Performer’s Contribution (pp. 162-180)

      Since the advent of music theory as a dedicated profession in the mid-nineteenth century, theorists have intuited that analysis would be at least beneficial, and perhaps even essential, to performers. Recently, “Performance and Analysis” has emerged as a distinct area of study within the field. Despite an abundance of serious Performance and Analysis studies by eminent music theorists, no universal principles have emerged, and little if any interest has been generated among performers.

      The failure of efforts to date to tie performance to analysis is not due to bad writing on Performance and Analysis; rather, it points up the limitations...

  8. Appendix: Forms (pp. 181-194)
  9. Notes (pp. 195-200)
  10. Bibliography (pp. 201-204)
  11. Index (pp. 205-210)
  12. Back Matter (pp. 211-211)