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7 - “Poison-Flaming Flowers from the Orient and Nightingales from Bayreuth”: On Hanslick's Reception of the Music of Goldmark

from Part Two - Liberalism and Societal Order

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2013

David Brodbeck
Affiliation:
University of California
Nicole Grimes
Affiliation:
Marie Curie Fellow at University College Dublin (UCD), and the University of California
Siobhán Donovan
Affiliation:
School of Languages and Literatures, University College Dublin (UCD)
Wolfgang Marx
Affiliation:
School of Music, University College Dublin (UCD)
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Summary

The distinctive qualities of this most deeply serious of composers are well known—the hot-bloodedness, passion, his decisive characteristics, which dominate his feelings, sometimes at the expense of beauty, but never at the expense of truth, or of that which seems true to him.

—Eduard Hanslick

Hanslick was always more disapproving than approving in his judgment toward me. [He] attacked my mind, not the work.

—Carl Goldmark

On May 18, 1900, the Vienna Court Opera celebrated the seventieth birthday of Carl Goldmark with a performance of the composer's Die Königin von Saba (The (Queen of Sheba), a grand opera in four acts on a libretto by Salomon Hermann Mosenthal. Although he would miss this celebratory performance, Eduard Hanslick, the semi-retired music critic for the Neue Freie Presse, made sure to mark the day with a feuilleton in which he paid friendly tribute to a composer whose works had long been a fixture in Vienna's operatic and concert bills. Hanslick had always harbored certain misgivings about Goldmark's music, but he was careful not to allow those to cloud the day. Moreover, he admired Goldmark's solid character and was genuinely fond of the man, with whom he had been friendly for many years. And so the critic begins by graciously extolling Goldmark's ascent to a hard-won place at the very center of Vienna's musical culture:

Well, could it be seventy already? How immeasurably long this distance seems to us in our younger years, and yet how incredibly quickly we turn up there one day! For Goldmark the first half of this journey was difficult and troublesome.

Type
Chapter
Information
Rethinking Hanslick
Music, Formalism, and Expression
, pp. 132 - 159
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

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