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Music, Criticism, and the Challenge of HistoryShaping Modern Musical Thought in Late Nineteenth Century Vienna$
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Kevin Karnes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368666

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368666.001.0001

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COMPOSER, CRITIC, AND THE PROBLEM OF CREATIVITY

COMPOSER, CRITIC, AND THE PROBLEM OF CREATIVITY

Chapter:
(p.109) CHAPTER FOUR COMPOSER, CRITIC, AND THE PROBLEM OF CREATIVITY
Source:
Music, Criticism, and the Challenge of History
Author(s):

Kevin C. Karnes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368666.003.0005

This chapter argues that Schenker, despite his misgivings about positivist scholarship, appreciated its promise with respect to the study of the creative process. In his earliest essays, he had toyed with an array of speculative theories of artistic creativity indebted to Wagner, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and a host of Romantic writers. Sometime around 1895, however, he made a radical turn, disavowing all speculative approaches to the subject and lobbying his readers to assume a self-consciously realistic and empirical perspective by considering only those insights into the compositional act provided by the sketches and reminiscences of practicing composers. This new emphasis in Schenker's writings made clear his newly found sympathies with the positivist spirit famously exemplified in Gustav Nottebohm's studies of Beethoven's sketchbooks. However, this empiricist strain of thought was fleeting; within a decade, Schenker would disavow it and again embrace a purely metaphysical notion of the creative mind.

Keywords:   Beethoven, creativity, empiricism, Hoffmann, metaphysics, Nottebohm, positivism, Schenker, Wagner

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