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Kenneth M. Smith , Skryabin, Philosophy and the Music of Desire ( Farnham : Ashgate , 2013 ). xiv + 161 pp. £49.50. ISBN 978‐1‐4094‐3891‐5 (hb).

Kenneth M. Smith , Skryabin, Philosophy and the Music of Desire ( Farnham : Ashgate , 2013 ). xiv... DOI: 10.1111/musa.12053 Kenneth M. Smith, Skryabin, Philosophy and the Music of Desire (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013). xiv + 161 pp. £49.50. ISBN 978-1-4094-3891-5 (hb). Among pianists there is a quip that the greatest interpreter of Skryabin’s music was Vladimir Horowitz, because both men were crazy. In Lacan’s theory of the subject, one of the critical models that Kenneth Smith employs to great effect in his recent monograph on Skryabin, we are all crazy. More exactly, as Smith summarises, the normative subject ‘is always neurotic for Lacan’ (2013, p. 129). The Lacanian subject is riddled with symptoms that can never be cured, only understood. Fragmentation and discontent are built into the structure of the subject, because, as Zizek ˇ explains, ‘social reality [ . . . ] is imputed to the subject as something that he has freely chosen’ (Zizek [1992] 2008, p. 87). But that choice is a forced one, because the young child can only become a fully formed subject by taking on a language that is not his or hers and thereby speaking with signs that will never be adequate. No, Lacan does not offer us a romanticised view of the world or our place in it. Skryabin http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Kenneth M. Smith , Skryabin, Philosophy and the Music of Desire ( Farnham : Ashgate , 2013 ). xiv + 161 pp. £49.50. ISBN 978‐1‐4094‐3891‐5 (hb).

Music Analysis , Volume 35 (1) – Mar 1, 2016

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12053
Publisher site
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Abstract

DOI: 10.1111/musa.12053 Kenneth M. Smith, Skryabin, Philosophy and the Music of Desire (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013). xiv + 161 pp. £49.50. ISBN 978-1-4094-3891-5 (hb). Among pianists there is a quip that the greatest interpreter of Skryabin’s music was Vladimir Horowitz, because both men were crazy. In Lacan’s theory of the subject, one of the critical models that Kenneth Smith employs to great effect in his recent monograph on Skryabin, we are all crazy. More exactly, as Smith summarises, the normative subject ‘is always neurotic for Lacan’ (2013, p. 129). The Lacanian subject is riddled with symptoms that can never be cured, only understood. Fragmentation and discontent are built into the structure of the subject, because, as Zizek ˇ explains, ‘social reality [ . . . ] is imputed to the subject as something that he has freely chosen’ (Zizek [1992] 2008, p. 87). But that choice is a forced one, because the young child can only become a fully formed subject by taking on a language that is not his or hers and thereby speaking with signs that will never be adequate. No, Lacan does not offer us a romanticised view of the world or our place in it. Skryabin

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2016

References