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Lateness and BrahmsMusic and Culture in the Twilight of Viennese Liberalism$
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Margaret Notley

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305470

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305470.001.0001

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(p.204) EPILOGUE
Lateness and Brahms

Margaret Notley

Oxford University Press

This chapter resumes discussion begun in the first chapter, focusing on the changed outlooks of Brahms and his Viennese colleagues in the 1890s. Prominent citizens who had earlier objected to signs of Czech nationalism now recognized consequences of German nationalism. Hanslick, who had grown up in Prague, exemplified contradictions of Liberalism in his simultaneous admiration for and unwitting condescension toward Dvořák. Discussion of reception of Dvořák's music by Hanslick and Theodor Helm highlights differences between the older and newer German nationalism. Brahms's library and an overlooked archival collection afford insights into his views. An orthodox Liberal, he rejected the cultural despair of German tribalism but voiced discouragement about the future of music. Liberal economics were being unmasked as second nature, as would absolute tonal music slightly later. Yet Brahms's late music is beautiful because it responds to demands of music-historical lateness while conveying the peculiar expressiveness of a late style.

Keywords:   absolute music, Brahms, Czech nationalism, Dvořák, German nationalism, Hanslick, Theodor Helm, historical lateness, late style, Liberal economics

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