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Research Paper P Crane

What key developments in the first half of the nineteenth century resulted in a new aesthetic status for instrumental music? A successful work of art is comprised of three distinct, discrete yet interlocking components. The success of the particular work requires that each of these components be in itself successful. Each of these components is a product of its time and influences and each component may, on the whole, be static, vary a little or vary a lot. Within this matrix lie the three components: the author, the work, the receiver. The time under review is the period approximating the first half of the 19th century. Material changes in society and less corporeal extrusions of philosophic thought had combined in those times to provide a context which encouraged, even provoked, an augmentation of art theory which saw instrumental music achieve a status higher than in previous times and one which it holds today. Significantly, this new aesthetic preceded,1 if briefly, the music with which it is most usually associated, yet the aesthetic has also been applied retrospectively with some success. This emphasizes the notion that although the new aesthetic resulted from developments outside music, the musical matrix responded quickly to the new situation giving rise to the movement in music known as Romanticism. The division of the response into the three components of author, work and listener is to make plain the main areas affected by the large number of influences that

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Mark Evan Bonds, “Idealism and the Aesthetics of Instrumental Music at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century”, Journal of the American Musicological Society 50/2-3 (1997):389.

. generally incorporated as philosophy. while important in articulating the artreligion idea which definitely influenced writers and composers. Other influences were of a more intrinsically musical nature. when viewed as the ideas generated by one mind pitted against those of another and the two running out of language. Theology based on many gods had been displaced by a monotheism which was coming under increasing pressure as a comprehensive explanation for man’s position in his world.2 Of the developments taking place around the beginning of the 19th century that saw the rise of instrumental music some were consequences arising from a general perception of failures of previous belief systems to place man within his changing world. was itself having limited success as the century drew to a close. was disconcerting. Immanuel Kant in particular had predicted boundaries beyond which language could not proceed 3 and as philosophy required language in its own enquiries it was apparent that language was being stressed to the point where it was becoming virtually incomprehensible. A principal inheritor of theology. The situation. Aesthetics of Instrumental Music . Added to that was the problem of the mind’s ability to consider itself objectively. the duopoly of empiricism and rationalism. Alternatively it was possible that Kant had taken philosophy to the extent of its reach. This was soon to be. One reason for the difficulties being faced by philosophy was its reliance on language. 3 Bonds. would be better placed as an influence in the area of reception as the musical import of a Romantic composition would need to be actively sought by the listener. The rise in the standards of musicianship and the enthusiasm with which this was supported allowed for the possibility that music could rise to any demands made of it.wrought the new music. 2 For example theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher’s work in hermeneutics. Philosophy had reached an impasse. 398.

That traditional theological models were experiencing difficulty was a given and the problems came from a variety of areas.This incompleteness. in The Cambridge History of Nineteenth Century Music. Jim Samson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. articulating itself as hope and Sehnsucht. But against this the Romantics were at heart optimists. towards the Absolute. 5 Beate Julia Perrey. As philosophic enquiry deepened language was unable to capture the content felt to lie beyond. Without text as a guide it. became a pillar for the Romantics.233. Chapter2. But the trouble that plagued philosophy was largely due to the failure of language. which had been articulated by Kant. 392. 2001). ‘Man does not exist as a whole. was taken to be vague 4 John Butt. Chapter 8. . but only in parts. “Fragments of Desire: Schumann’s Dichterliebe. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. the Sehnsucht. Art. is always also present. 6 Ibid. the tendency towards a greater synthesis. its creators.. too.” Cambridge Studies in Music Theory and Analysis.’ So wrote the influential poet Friedrich Schlegel. ed. his aspiration to transcend his everyday world and seek higher realms. Aesthetics of Instrumental Music. 7 Bonds. ‘…. 2002). This had not been extinguished by the current failure of theological and philosophical models.’ 6 The ‘endless longing or seeking’. “Choral Music”. Instrumental music had long been viewed similarly7. The language became vague and incomprehensible. Kant had noted man’s religious nature4. The incompleteness of the universal explanation of man’s position was reflected in an idea known soon as the Romantic fragment. 31. Man can never be present as a whole5. created a zone of low pressure in that most sensitive area of humankind – that of aspiration. its creations and its contemplators came forward and in combination as art-religion and art-philosophy offered itself as the new way. 26.

8. had a lively …. NJ: Prentice-Hall. capable of diverse interpretation. Superior instruments.57.’ The developments that produced the new aesthetic for instrumental music were taking place in disciplines other than music. as the language of feeling …. then …. and to a lesser extent the writers of the French Encyclopedie. could be the art to best express the areas intimated by the Sehnsucht. academics and journalists who had this abiding interest in music that oversaw the application of the Romantic aesthetic to music.F.(Englewood Cliffs. were sown by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. can be credited the virtual mania for writing about music that arose around 17709. 1973). Schlegel. the only non-representational art form. As a result the prevailing aesthetic ascribed to it had been that of a craft albeit a beloved one.C.and indefinite. ‘The writers associated with the movement known as Weimar Classicism …. Nineteenth Century Romanticism In Music 2 ed.Bach’s sons …. . interest in music. is the only universal language. Language has the essential deficit that it does not grasp feeling deeply enough …. Herder collaborated with J.1964). II (Munich. Some thought that this text-less nonrepresentational art form. Technically. Paderborn and Vienna. 10 Ibid. education and performing opportunities had ensured music’s remaining a vital functioning entity. Music …. the area where language cold not go.10’ It was the work of poets. Around the year 1800 a society of Romantic thinkers began to 8 9 F. writers. Longyear’s assertion is important in forging the vital connection between the work done by philosophers and writers and the application of their work to music. instrumental music had been improving apace. Longyear. nd Rey M. Philosophische Vorlesungen. one of J. players.S. To him. Friedrich Schlegel in lectures he delivered in 1804-5 made the connection when he pointed out – “Now if feeling is the root of all consciousness.”8 ‘The seeds for the interpenetration of the arts ….Bach.

http://www. Schelling.au/subscriber/article/grove/music/29753 13 11 nd James Gutmann. http://www. Wackenroder’s position allowed for the possibility of an art-religion where the transcendence customarily associated with religious experience could be achieved in a similar way through art. .ezproxy. 2nd ed. “Romanticism. Accessed 23/09/2009.oxfordmusiconline. Accessed 23/09/2009. 11 Wilhelm Wackenroder had died in 1789 but his writings. “The notion of the AMZ as the Jim Samson.com.” New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.13’ Arguably before a note of music had been written in its name.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhiana.” http://etext. Members of this circle included the Schlegels.com. The actual usage of the term ‘Romantic’ is usually attributed to Friedrich and August Schlegel and Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (Jean Paul) who were leading members of this group. were influential ‘far into the 19th century’12. with articulate and educated exposition by the Jena and Weimar circle and with Berlin University taking up its cause. “Wackenroder. Schleiermacher. Romanticism received a boost to its musical cause that was the equal to all. 2 ed. The writings of the Jena and Weimar circle were taking root. Hegel and ….une. which were assisted by Tieck. with direct links to Kant’s work at Koenigsberg University.au/subscriber/article/grove/music/23751 12 Peter Branscombe.cgi?id=dv4-28. This was centered in Jena and Weimar. New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.coalesce into what became the Romantic school. a weekly general music journal. ‘Influenced by this outlook a broader philosophical program of romantic idealism was developed at the newly established University of Berlin by Fichte.ezproxy. In 1798. commenced publication of the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung (AMZ). Tieck. Fichte and Schelling.virginia. Breitkopf and Hartel Leipzig. Novalis.oxfordmusiconline.une. “Romanticism in Post-Kantian Philosophy. Wilhelm Heinrich”.

Hoffmann’s journalism was notable then as now as exemplary and spanned the divide from technical.A. “Hoffmann.une. 17 Ibid.. The horizon has four vantage points …. Significantly the editorial directives implicitly accepted the new aesthetic and the romantic viewpoint was seen as a natural tool of the reviewer. E.] Expanding on this.com.au/subscriber/article/grove/music/12871.5. His review of Beethoven’s 5th symphony of 1810 remains current. “Hermeneutics. E. The AMZ was crucial in providing a public forum for the dissemination of ideology concerning music and the new aesthetic. philosophical. (3) ‘the grammar’16 of the work under examination.cradle of music hermeneutics is appealing in that Rochlitz hand-picked his reviewers ….A. The guidelines that Rochlitz provided indicate the extreme quality expected from all contributors and he published these as emphasis. (1) technical.T. P. http://www. Journalistic strictures included Rochlitz’s schema involving [(1) ‘the sense and spirit’. Ibid. .p.14” The Oxford Music Online places its examination of the editorial quality of AMZ within its entry on Hermeneutics.edu.“ Oxford Music Online.T. of pure objectivity’ from which to determine the ‘purely artistic content’ of an absolute instrumental work. (3) historical and (4) idealistic. 15 16 Ibid. (2) ‘the means’.ezproxy. an AMZ writer Hans Georg Naegeli in 180217 [outlined a ‘horizon ….4. He detailed the new aesthetic through his reviews and noted Beethoven’s18 ‘setting in motion the 14 Jim Samson ed.”] This depth of analysis would be required in the reviews to come of what would be termed Romantic music. The editorial position taken had the AMZ see itself as a ‘literary-artistic institute’ and a ‘tribunal of artistic judgment’15. (2) psychological.oxfordmusiconline. aesthetic and entertainment with no apparent difficulty. 18 Gerhard Allroggen.” Oxford Music Online.

Hoffmann. in his writings for AMZ.machinery of awe.ezproxy.A.21’ Hoffmann. whose awareness of the Romantic aesthetic was fully Http://www.T.au/subscribe/article/grove/music51682. Ibid.edu.19’ In Hoffmann’s series in AMZ the Kreisleriana his article titled Beethoven’s Instrumental Music marks ‘the end of the old-fashioned doctrine of the Affections in music aesthetics20.oxfordmusiconline. horror and pain. pose problems. In responding to the question of the forces extant at the time instrumental music’s aesthetic took its current form I have invested the greater part of the reply with the philosophers and the commentators. It has been said that Wackenroder was taking the role of prophet in describing a music that would soon be written. 19 20 Ibid. Elsewhere he speaks of Romantic talent as that which ‘opens up the wondrous realm of the Infinite. or even events. awakened that infinite yearning which is the essence of Romanticism’. This unequivocally raises the status of the music to a position of self sufficiency. outlines explicitly or implicitly the connection that runs from Rousseau’s early mention of composer self expression. the composers. until he places the work of instrumental music as that best suited to describe the philosophical longing that is to remain beyond language. 1989). a world in which he leaves behind all precise feelings in order to embrace an inexpressible longing. 21 David Charlton. and Wackenroder’s artreligion. The creators of the music. fear.une. . through Kant’s transcendental idealism.’ That this should include mimesis becomes clear when Hoffmann writes ‘Music reveals to man …. 96. E. Hoffmann’s Musical Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. a student at Koenigsberg University during Kant’s tenure. Were you even aware of this ….com. you poor instrumental composers who have laboriously struggled to represent precise sensations.

Beethoven’s observation may be seen as the moment when the musicians themselves had been fully drawn into the dialogue.233. Kant had advised that the hallmark of genius would be originality.formed. Other philosophers had 22 John Butt. If that individual were a musician the opportunities afforded by a move toward self expression and the use of imagination were in the area of creating the new. seen by Hoffmann as an exemplary Romantic. Self expression was emerging as an attainable option. not recreating the old. The virtuoso. was a participant and keen observer of the dynamic and drew pleasure from it. had been empowered. The post-feudal subject.” in The Cambridge History of Nineteenth Century Music. The early 19th century saw the rise of the travelling virtuosi such as Paganini. That those musician-composers chose the path of predominantly instrumental music demonstrated the self sufficiency of music minus text. one less rural and more industrialized. looked back through Mozart. Haydn and even to Palestrina to see evidence of Romanticism yet the concept there is out of time. as the romantic artist achieving transcendence through his personal struggle with his instrument became iconic. The philosophical movement had also been toward the individual with Kant’s work emphasizing the unique subject and laying further emphasis on the imagination of that individual in interpreting his world. finding himself in a new society. anachronistic. Beethoven. . Liszt and Chopin. In a conversation book Beethoven had written “The moral law within us and the starry sky above us – Kant!!!”22 Ironic it would be if the pleasure drawn by a philosopher in contemplation of a work of art should be as the pleasure drawn by an artist from the work of a philosopher. who could work for pay or aspire to improvement through business. “Choral Music. Chapter 8.

1995. the direction for the composer was to produce expressive.T. Englewood Cliffs. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. The Romantic Generation. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. the vocal work. . The Jena and Weimar writers had done their work in outlining the situation and offering their insights into the way ahead. NJ: PrenticeHall. The AMZ and the impresarios now were to complete the circle by providing educated or prepared audiences to receive the works. the composer. the communicators and then the musicians themselves.A. Ben. Edited by David Charlton. London: Quercus. Rosen.. describes the process.stressed that the move should be in the direction of instrumental music and to leave. How that work impacted on the three elements of music. The rise in the aesthetic status of instrumental music then was an amalgam of the work done by the philosophers. E. original. 50 Philosophy Ideas (you really need to know). for now. Given that. Bibliography Hoffmann.T. 2007. Charles. Dupre.A. E. instrumental music of the highest caliber of which he was capable. Rey. Nineteenth Century Romanticism in Music. 1973. Hoffmann’s Musical Writings. Longyer. the work and the audience. the commentators. All that was needed now was the audience to appreciate the artists’ work. 1989.

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