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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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Elgar’s The Music Makers and the Spirit of Time

Elgar’s The Music Makers and the Spirit of Time

(p.257) 6 Elgar’s The Music Makers and the Spirit of Time
The Melody of Time

Benedict Taylor

Oxford University Press

This final chapter, a type of epilogue to the entire concern of the book, explores the idea of the spirit of time, the hidden song behind the events of history, an idea found frequently in nineteenth- and earlier twentieth-century culture and epitomised in Elgar’s music. The Music Makers (1912) is a piece filled with self-quotations, ‘music about music’. By bringing back themes from his own compositional past, Elgar turns a musical setting of a text describing the music behind time into an instantiation of this very theme; the music transcends the text describing such musical transcendence. The final section offers a parting summing up of the questions of both the chapter and book as a whole, returning to the admission of the limits of this enterprise found at the close of chapter two while still affirming music’s continued importance for understanding the complexities of time and human subjectivity.

Keywords:   Elgar, The Music Makers, the spirit of time, music in nature, historical providence, dreams

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