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Music and the Politics of Negation

Music and the Politics of Negation

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Indiana University Press
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Music and the Politics of Negation
    Book Description:

    Over the past quarter century, music studies in the academy have their postmodern credentials by insisting that our scholarly engagements start and end by placing music firmly within its various historical and social contexts. In Music and the Politics of Negation, James R. Currie sets out to disturb the validity of this now quite orthodox claim. Alternating dialectically between analytic and historical investigations into the late 18th century and the present, he poses a set of uncomfortable questions regarding the limits and complicities of the values that the academy keeps in circulation by means of its musical encounters. His overriding thesis is that the forces that have formed us are not our fate.

    eISBN: 978-0-253-00522-9
    Subjects: Music
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. ii-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE: A No-Music (pp. ix-xviii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. xix-xxii)
  5. 1 Veils (Mozart, Piano Concerto K. 459, Finale) (pp. 1-33)

    Once a year we acknowledge our love for others by making them queen of a touchingly comic realm of pantomime fanfares from plastic trumpets, cakes aglow with candles, champagne overflowing from popping bottles. But what are we really doing at this birthday party? Only the morally Spartan would insist that the event is solely concerned with celebrating the particularity of a dear friend, for surely we are also celebrating the reciprocity of love: that I love my friend not only for who she is, in and of herself, but also for what she enables me to actualize surprisingly from out...

  6. 2 Dreams (Fugal Counterpoint) (pp. 34-64)

    Shrouded objects are ambiguous. Too easily they can imply the sadness of things not in use, as in the somewhat period-piece image of furniture under dustsheets in summer retreats offseason. But things aren’t so devoid of life as such initial impressions might imply, and death, as grief can sometimes make us understand, is not always dead enough. When characters in films find themselves in the unused house trailing their fingers along the shrouded top of the chair, it is frequently a cue for things forgotten to be drawn back close to life. And so the departed beloved stands at the...

  7. 3 Exile (Haydn, String Quartet Op. 33, No. 5) (pp. 65-99)

    We are in high spirits and decide to pay a visit on someone. Upon her opening the door we immediately realize that she is in high spirits, too, and we take comfort in what we assume to be the accurate reflection of each other’s smiles. We are friends and so our coming together is an end in itself, a closed system in which roughly hewn questions of means leading to ends – purpose, profit, necessity – cannot flourish. Nevertheless, like an act of grace, the warmth of friendship offers us what seems to be an authentic point of rest and...

  8. 4 Enchantment (Mozart, La clemenza di Tito) (pp. 100-138)

    Food is frequently disgusting, our relations to it haunted by an almost archaic abjection. Few of us can enjoy our fried egg if we simultaneously keep in mind that it has come out of the feathery end of a chicken. And so a careful set of practices has to be kept in place to keep what appear to be real origins at the distance that constitutes denial. But note, only “appear.” Although we are unnerved at the thought that we might get too close to something, that something is often in excess of the literal object of disgust itself or...

  9. 5 Forgetting (Edward Said) (pp. 139-178)

    I started this book by saying no to yes, and out of fidelity to no-saying, I would like to end by saying no to no. But as a result of this consistency of procedure, this book will no longer be consistent. So if there is any conclusion to my investigation, it has already occurred, and what you are now reading is, in effect, an argument that is happening after the end. This does not mean that nothing heretofore will find echo in what happens next. Even if we decide not to talk with our friend about the awful concert we...

  10. NOTES (pp. 179-202)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 203-210)
  12. INDEX (pp. 211-222)
  13. Back Matter (pp. 223-225)