28.9.12

Theodor Adorno, Quasi Una Fantasia: Essays on Modern Music

The Guardian reviews a new edition from Verso
Theodor Adorno, Quasi Una Fantasia: Essays on Modern Music
Nicholas Lezard reviews Theodor Adorno's Quasi Una Fantasia: Essays on Modern Music: 'Adorno wrote about everything, really, but what he wrote most about was music. He knew what he was talking about: he had entertained attainable ambitions to compose, and been taught by Alban Berg. When Thomas Mann, in exile, needed to have a serialist composer in Dr Faustus, it was to Adorno he turned, and his contribution to the book was invaluable. Schoenberg, exiled a few miles up the road at the same time, was seriously miffed for years that he hadn't been asked – understandably, since he had invented the atonality of Mann's composer. But there was something Adorno could bring to the table which Schoenberg couldn't. As George Steiner put it, "what Adorno contributed [to Dr Faustus] was not only the hard-edged technicalities of compositional and instrumental processes, but his own radical perceptions of what it is to compose music under pressure of previous musical history and of social crisis."' [Read More]

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