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Night Music: Essays on Music 1928-1962

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Although Theodor W. Adorno is best known for his association with the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, he began his career as a composer and successful music critic. Night Music presents the first complete English translations of two collections of texts compiled by German philosopher and musicologist Adorno—Moments musicaux, containing essays written between 1928 and 1962, and Theory of New Music, a gAdorno—Moments Although Theodor W. Adorno is best known for his association with the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, he began his career as a composer and successful music critic. Night Music presents the first complete English translations of two collections of texts compiled by German philosopher and musicologist Adorno—Moments musicaux, containing essays written between 1928 and 1962, and Theory of New Music, a group of texts written between 1929 and 1955. In Moments musicaux, Adorno echoes Schubert’s eponymous cycle, with its emphasis on aphorism, and offers lyrical reflections on music of the past and his own time. The essays include extended aesthetic analyses that demonstrate Adorno’s aim to apply high philosophical standards to the study of music. Theory of New Music, as its title indicates, presents Adorno’s thoughts and theories on the composition, reception, and analysis of the music that was being written around him. His extensive philosophical writing ultimately prevented him from pursuing the compositional career he had once envisaged, but his view of the modern music of the time is not simply that of a theorist, but clearly also that of a composer. Though his advocacy of the Second Viennese School, comprising composer Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils, is well known, many of his writings in this field have remained obscure. Collected in their entirety for the first time in English, the insightful texts in Night Music show the breadth of Adorno’s musical understanding and reveal an overlooked side to this significant thinker.


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Although Theodor W. Adorno is best known for his association with the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, he began his career as a composer and successful music critic. Night Music presents the first complete English translations of two collections of texts compiled by German philosopher and musicologist Adorno—Moments musicaux, containing essays written between 1928 and 1962, and Theory of New Music, a gAdorno—Moments Although Theodor W. Adorno is best known for his association with the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, he began his career as a composer and successful music critic. Night Music presents the first complete English translations of two collections of texts compiled by German philosopher and musicologist Adorno—Moments musicaux, containing essays written between 1928 and 1962, and Theory of New Music, a group of texts written between 1929 and 1955. In Moments musicaux, Adorno echoes Schubert’s eponymous cycle, with its emphasis on aphorism, and offers lyrical reflections on music of the past and his own time. The essays include extended aesthetic analyses that demonstrate Adorno’s aim to apply high philosophical standards to the study of music. Theory of New Music, as its title indicates, presents Adorno’s thoughts and theories on the composition, reception, and analysis of the music that was being written around him. His extensive philosophical writing ultimately prevented him from pursuing the compositional career he had once envisaged, but his view of the modern music of the time is not simply that of a theorist, but clearly also that of a composer. Though his advocacy of the Second Viennese School, comprising composer Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils, is well known, many of his writings in this field have remained obscure. Collected in their entirety for the first time in English, the insightful texts in Night Music show the breadth of Adorno’s musical understanding and reveal an overlooked side to this significant thinker.

43 review for Night Music: Essays on Music 1928-1962

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tosh

    What I know of classical music is what I hear on record/vinyl/cd. Beyond that, almost nothing. My reaction to Classical it totally musical, and the occasional liner note on the back cover of the album. With curiosity, I picked up Theodor W. Adorno's "Night Music," in the hopes of learning more about this form of music as well as dipping into the brain of Adorno, one of the leading 'thinkers' of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Adorno was also a composer, and what is interesting about "Ni What I know of classical music is what I hear on record/vinyl/cd. Beyond that, almost nothing. My reaction to Classical it totally musical, and the occasional liner note on the back cover of the album. With curiosity, I picked up Theodor W. Adorno's "Night Music," in the hopes of learning more about this form of music as well as dipping into the brain of Adorno, one of the leading 'thinkers' of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Adorno was also a composer, and what is interesting about "Night Music" is that it was written from the late 1920s to 1962. The essays are not organized in chronicle order, but in a manner that is very readable. The book consists of two collections of texts "Moments musicaux" and "Theory of New Music." When Adorno speaks of new music, he's not talking about Cage (who does get a brief mention in a later essay) but composers of his generation and time, for instance, Schönberg, who is the main figure in these series of writings, along with Berg, Webern, and Ravel. There is also the commentary on Beethoven, Wagner, and Bach, but the heart of the book is on the Second Viennese School of music. For one, it's interesting to read these essays knowing that they were written during a time when Schönberg and Ravel were active and doing music. One is not looking back, but at the present when these essays were written. The writing for me is readable, but also difficult due to its density and Adorno's knowledge of music. People who are either serious fans of Classical (especially 20th-century) or musicians will jump on this book with no problem, but for the guy or gal, it's a serious journey into the rabbit hole that is music. Seagull Books who published "Night Music" should get special notice for the design of the book, and their great taste in titles. Also, Wieland Hoban did a fantastic job in doing the translation from German to English.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Edwards

    Some of the earlier essays here are not as strong as the later ones, however Adorno is always a pleasure to read. The encyclopaedia entries on new music are quite interesting, as it shows Adorno giving descriptive/critical detail to various musical concepts and terms that he otherwise puts to work without explanation. For the reader without any musical "training" or background, this would prove immensely helpful. However, I would doubt that too many people come to these texts without any musical kn Some of the earlier essays here are not as strong as the later ones, however Adorno is always a pleasure to read. The encyclopaedia entries on new music are quite interesting, as it shows Adorno giving descriptive/critical detail to various musical concepts and terms that he otherwise puts to work without explanation. For the reader without any musical "training" or background, this would prove immensely helpful. However, I would doubt that too many people come to these texts without any musical knowledge, so the real point of interest is seeing how Adorno engages with each term in some kind of restricted manner. Essays on Music is still the best introduction and collection of Adorno's texts on music, rigorous and scholarly as the collection is, while Philosophy of New Music is his most philosophically incisive and demanding (and rewarding, if contestable). This takes up position with Quasi Una Fantasia: Essays on Modern Music and others as the indispensable depth in the field of inquiry.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steve Wilson

  4. 4 out of 5

    Billy

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    LuisFe

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barry

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    Mike

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    Svenerik Olsen

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    Alexander

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

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    Benjamin de Boer

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christian

  14. 4 out of 5

    cristiana

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bruno

  16. 5 out of 5

    Megan Ihnen

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    Akie

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    Robin

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    nasrin

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    Dom

  21. 5 out of 5

    g

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Manuel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Foxglove Zayuri

  24. 4 out of 5

    Reza رضا

  25. 4 out of 5

    Billy Candelaria

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    Helen

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    Eric Woods

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    Renan Virginio

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    Nathan

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    Ryan

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    Reagan

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    Vigilius Haufniensis

  33. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

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    Tasos Droulias

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    Megan

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    Kelvin Ng

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    Okean Ci

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  42. 4 out of 5

    mark mendoza

  43. 4 out of 5

    Sean

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