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«Seiner Leidenschaften Meister sein» - «In control of the passions»

Zur Reflexion des Gefühls im Musikdenken - Emotion as reflected in musical thinking

Joachim Noller

Was heißt es, wenn Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach vom ausführenden Musiker fordert, er müsse selbst gerührt sein, bevor er seine Zuhörer in Rührung versetzen könne? Der Autor schreibt über die Idee der Emotion, über ihre Rolle im Szenario sogenannter Musikanschauung (von ca. 1750 bis heute). Von Interesse ist dabei weniger die Gefühlshaltigkeit der Musik selbst, als vielmehr die Art, wie das Musikdenken dieselbe be- und verhandelt; nicht Emotionen in tatsächlicher Wirkung, sondern wie sie, als Denkfigur, in musikalischen Zusammenhängen theoretisch bewältigt werden.
What does it mean when Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach demands that a performing musician must himself be moved before he can move his listeners? The author writes about the idea of emotions and their role in the scenario of what is called music appreciation (from about 1750 till the present day). His focus is not primarily on the emotional content of music as such, but rather the way in which it is treated in thinking about music; not on the actual impact of emotions, but the way in which they have been thought about in a musical context, as concepts around which a theoretical discourse crystallizes.
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IX Paths into the Modern era: Futurist and other states of the soul


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Paths into the Modern era Futurist and other states of the soul

There is more than one path leading into the Modern era: here, we would like to retrace one which is very rarely discussed. There are three stations on it, which can serve as milestones marking the change in emotional expression:

Station 1: In April 1851 Giuseppe Verdi had concerns about the text for his opera Il Trovatore, and writes a long letter to his librettist Salvatore Cammarano in which, among other remarks, he says the following about how he would like the character of Azucena to be conceived: "it seems to me that the two great passions of this woman, love towards her child and her mother, are no longer present in their full strength". Azucena should not be allowed to go mad: "Her mind is deeply disturbed, yes, but she is not out of her mind. We must keep the two great passions of this woman active up to the last minute: her love for Manrique and the ferocious thirsting to avenge her mother"520. Verdi wants the grand sweep of emotionally charged development; this is to be the vehicle for establishing the character and ethos of the roles in his piece.

Station 2: half a century later, Claude Debussy defends himself against the accusation that his style of singing simply declaims the text and is lacking in melodic distinction. He counters the arguments levelled...

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