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The Melody of TimeMusic and Temporality in the Romantic Era$
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Benedict Taylor

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190206055

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190206055.001.0001

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Temporality in Russian Music and the Ideology of History

Temporality in Russian Music and the Ideology of History

Chapter:
(p.172) 4 Temporality in Russian Music and the Ideology of History
Source:
The Melody of Time
Author(s):

Benedict Taylor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190206055.003.0005

Moving from subjective to intersubjective temporality, this chapter examines how music may reflect a culture’s historical understanding of time. It has long been a truism of music criticism that nineteenth-century Russian symphonic music somehow lacks a genuine sense of development in comparison with a ‘normative’ German model. This chapter puts forward an alternative way of approaching Russian instrumental music, from the perspective of a different conception of musical and historical time. By interrogating this idea of temporality both musically and culturally, it suggests a potential distinction between a specifically Western Enlightenment model of time and historical progress, and a static, repetitive, even timeless conception that may apply to many pieces of the nineteenth-century Russian repertoire. Yet ultimately this binary opposition is seen to be overly simplistic, the chapter arguing for a richer understanding of music’s relation with time within both Russian and Austro-German traditions.

Keywords:   music and cultural conceptions of history, stasis, repetition, and circularity in music, Russian music (nineteenth century), Balakirev, Borodin, Tchaikovsky

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