Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Antithetical ArtsOn the Ancient Quarrel Between Literature and Music$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Kivy

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562800.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 June 2020

First the Music, and Then the Words

First the Music, and Then the Words

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 First the Music, and Then the Words
Source:
Antithetical Arts
Author(s):

Peter Kivy (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562800.003.0001

This chapter begins with a discussion of Salieri's opera, or, rather, Casti's libretto, which holds the key to the origins of musical formalism in the late 18th century, and to the origins of the focus of this book — the ancient quarrel between music and literature. It argues that the first wave of musical interpreters of the new absolute music, faced with the phenomenon of a rapidly growing instrumental repertoire, turned to the familiar, if somewhat less than commonplace practice of writing words to precomposed music, for their interpretive method. What was heard by these interpreters in absolute music was wordless drama. And, as interpreters, they became the composers' (sometimes unwelcome) librettists. But while narrative, dramatic interpretations may have been the more abundant, critics and theoreticians were also struggling with another concept of absolute music that would lead to Hanslick's formalism, and other formalisms to come. It was the concept of absolute music as a pure sonic structure with no secret or underlying meaning at all.

Keywords:   music formalism, Salieri, opera, Casti, libretto, literature, arias

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .