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Listening to Picturesque Music

Listening to Picturesque Music 19 TH CENTURY MUSIC Reviews Listening to Picturesque Music TOBIAS PLEBUCH Annette Richards. The Free Fantasia and the Musical Picturesque. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. xiii, 256pp. Building on its stunning revival in the past two decades, the concept of the picturesque has begun to spread from art criticism into neighbor disciplines. As Malcolm Andrews wrote mockingly in 1994: “The Picturesque has been gendered, politicized, deconstructed, rehistoricized, and so on. Every single ‘-ism’ has preyed upon it.”1 An inquiry into the musical picturesque, it seems, is timely. Annette Richards’s study, The Free Fantasia and the Musical Picturesque, spans a time period from the 1750s to the 1810s and focuses on music by C. P. E. Bach, Haydn, and Beethoven. In these decades, the picturesque emerged as a concept complementary to the sublime, the characteristic, the comic, and, somewhat later, even the ugly.2 These concepts became necessary, for beauty, a primary category in Baumgarten’s Aesthetica, proved to be too narrow to explain the operations of the “lower faculties of the soul.” The transfer to an abstract level in the critical discourse brought about a semantic shift of all these terms. The picturesque had been a variety of beauty for http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png 19th-Century Music University of California Press

Listening to Picturesque Music

19th-Century Music , Volume 27 (2) – Oct 1, 2003

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Publisher
University of California Press
Copyright
Copyright © by the University of California Press
Subject
Book Review
ISSN
0148-2076
eISSN
1533-8606
DOI
10.1525/ncm.2003.27.2.156
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

19 TH CENTURY MUSIC Reviews Listening to Picturesque Music TOBIAS PLEBUCH Annette Richards. The Free Fantasia and the Musical Picturesque. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. xiii, 256pp. Building on its stunning revival in the past two decades, the concept of the picturesque has begun to spread from art criticism into neighbor disciplines. As Malcolm Andrews wrote mockingly in 1994: “The Picturesque has been gendered, politicized, deconstructed, rehistoricized, and so on. Every single ‘-ism’ has preyed upon it.”1 An inquiry into the musical picturesque, it seems, is timely. Annette Richards’s study, The Free Fantasia and the Musical Picturesque, spans a time period from the 1750s to the 1810s and focuses on music by C. P. E. Bach, Haydn, and Beethoven. In these decades, the picturesque emerged as a concept complementary to the sublime, the characteristic, the comic, and, somewhat later, even the ugly.2 These concepts became necessary, for beauty, a primary category in Baumgarten’s Aesthetica, proved to be too narrow to explain the operations of the “lower faculties of the soul.” The transfer to an abstract level in the critical discourse brought about a semantic shift of all these terms. The picturesque had been a variety of beauty for

Journal

19th-Century MusicUniversity of California Press

Published: Oct 1, 2003

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