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Essays on Music

  • Date Published: June 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521673488


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About the Authors
  • Hans Keller (1919–1985) was one of the most brilliant and stimulating writers on music of his day, and this is the first large selection of his essays. His work draws on his rich and diverse experience as a string-player, composer, teacher, analyst and critic, and also reflects a deep interest in psychoanalysis. The first part of the book addresses psychological issues relating to critics, listeners, players and composers; the second analyses music by a wide range of composers from Haydn to the present day; and the third propounds his new theory of music, with essays on unity and contrast, motifs, themes, keys, timbre and rhythm. There is also a 'wordless functional analysis' of a Mozart piano sonata published here for the first time. The volume concludes with a magisterial account of what Keller deemed to be 'the principles of composition'.

    • Hans Keller worked for the BBC Third Programme in London and had a large following of listeners
    • This is the first large selection of his essays
    • His style is highly accessible to the general reader in spite of some music examples!
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Brilliantly selected essays' BBC Music Magazine

    'Christopher Wintle's outstandingly empathetic introduction that would seem best to encapsulate the style and ongoing purpose of this collection of musical (and I choose the word with care) writings as representative of 'Keller's crusade'.' Musical Times

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521673488
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 64 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    A Note on the Text
    Part I. Criticism:
    1. Problems in writing about music
    2. Resistances to Britten's music: their psychology
    3. National frontiers in music
    4. Sport and art: the concept of mastery
    5. Music and psychopathology
    Part II. Composers and Their Music:
    6. Art as departure (Haydn)
    7. New Music: Beethoven's Choral Fantasy
    8. Schubert: tune and melody
    9. Little known greatness (Mendelssohn and Mozart)
    10. Schumann was a symphonist
    11. Tristan and the realism of adolescence (Wagner)
    12. Resistances to Brahms
    13. Elgar the progressive
    14. The unpopularity of Mahler's popularity
    15. The sentimental violin (Glazounov)
    16. The 'Lucky' Hand and other errors (Schoenberg)
    17. Natural master (Schmidt)
    18. Schoenberg: A Survivor from Warsaw
    19. Film music: The Harry Lime theme (Karas and Weill)
    20. Mátyás Seiber 1905–1960
    21. Gloriana as music drama (a reaffirmation) (Britten)
    22. Shostakovich's Twelfth Quartet
    23. Stravinsky v. Stravinsky
    24. The state of the symphony: not only Maxwell Davies's
    25. Britten's last masterpiece
    26. The Man and the Music (Simpson)
    Part III. Towards a Theory of Music:
    27. Towards a theory of music
    28. The musical analysis of music
    29. Functional Analysis No. 9A: Mozart's Piano Sonata in A minor, K 310
    30. A slip of Mozart's: Its analytical significance (1956/57)
    31. Knowing things backwards
    32. Mozart's wrong key signature
    33. Key characteristics
    34. Strict serial technique in classical music
    35. Schoenberg: the future of symphonic thought
    36. Whose fault is the speaking voice? 37. Why this piece is about Billy Budd
    38. Rhythm: Gershwin and Stravinsky
    39. Principles of composition

  • Author

    Hans Keller


    Christopher Wintle, King's College London

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