Music Eduard Hanslick
by
Nicole Grimes
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 August 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0014

Introduction

Eduard Hanslick (b. 1825–d. 1904) was one of the most influential music critics and musical thinkers of the 19th century. Born in Prague, he was educated privately at Prague University, and later attended the University of Vienna. He began writing music criticism (as “Ed-d”) for the Beiblätter zu Ost und West in 1844, continuing to write for the Wiener Zeitung, the Sonntagsblätter, and ultimately securing a post as permanent music critic for Vienna’s liberal daily paper, Neue Freie Presse (writing under the initials “Ed. H.”) in 1864. He retained this position, along with a professorship of the history and aesthetics of music at the University of Vienna (from 1870) until his death.

Hanslick is perhaps best known for his 1854 monograph on aesthetics, Vom Musikalisch-Schönen: Ein Beitrag zur Revision der Ästhetik der Tonkunst. This contentious yet popular book saw ten editions published throughout the author’s lifetime. Espousing both a negative thesis (that the purpose of music is not to express emotion) and a positive thesis (that the beauty of music is to be found in its “tonally moving forms,” or “sounding mobile forms”—“tönend bewegte Formen”), Hanslick laid the groundwork for an aesthetics of music as the objective basis for the practice of criticism. His aesthetic writings helped to define the fields of musicology and music analysis. He never wrote a full aesthetics of music, however, but instead turned to publishing his collected criticism as a living history of music in Vienna. His two-volume book about concert life in Vienna, Geschichte des Concertwesens in Wien, remains a compelling and vivid history of Viennese musical life.

Hanslick wrote about practically every composer whose music he encountered, so that the range of composers, genres, styles, and historical periods covered in his critical output is vast. His critical writings provide a richly textured and multifaceted record of musical life in Vienna (and the many European cities to which he travelled as a correspondent) that document the cultural context in which music was composed, performed, and received in the second half of the 19th century.

For many years, studies on Hanslick have been positioned around a number of binary oppositions: form/content, absolute/program music, formalism/expression, formalist criticism/hermeneutic criticism. These tensions are reflected in the various sections within this article. The sources outlined in this article address Hanslick’s music criticism, literary style, the cultural context of late-19th-century Vienna, and the impact of Hanslick’s critical and aesthetic thought on subsequent generations of musicians and thinkers.

General Overviews

Abegg 2002 and Grey 1995 are reliable go-to sources for those seeking a comprehensive, if concise, introduction to all aspects of Hanslick’s writings and Hanslick studies in the German and English languages, respectively. Bujić 1988 is a useful guide for undergraduate students encountering Vom Musikalisch-Schönen for the first time. Payzant 2002 is essential reading for both undergraduate and graduate students wishing to gain deeper insights into Hanslick’s thinking. Grey 1995 discusses Hanslick’s writings within the context of mid-century politics and Wagner’s output. Antonicek, et al. 2010 and Grimes, et al. 2013 each provide a more in-depth study of many aspects of Hanslick’s output in the German and English languages, respectively. Cooper 2013 gives a concise overview of Hanslick’s career while challenging a number of received views.

  • Abegg, Werner. “Hanslick, Eduard.” In Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Personenteil. Vol. 8. 2d rev. ed. Edited by Ludwig Finscher, cols. 667–672. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 2002.

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    A very useful and informative introduction. The first half covers the period from Hanslick’s youth to the publication of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. Second half gives detailed consideration to this monograph and its contemporary reception, discussing mid-century musical wars, particularly Hanslick’s opposition to Wagner and Liszt. Followed by a detailed bibliography.

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  • Antonicek, Theophil, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, eds. Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Proceedings of the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    A highly informative collection of essays stemming from the 2004 Hanslick Symposium in Vienna. The book is divided into three sections: Hanslick in an intellectual context—aesthetics and musicology; Biography and activity; and Hanslick as critic and writer. Highly recommended for its empirical investigation and abundance of source material.

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  • Bujić, Bojan, ed. Music in European Thought: 1851–1912. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

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    Chapter 1, “Music as an Autonomous Being” (pp. 7–39), contains a brief introduction to Hanslick that will be useful for students who are becoming familiar with his thinking and writings for the first time. This is followed by excerpts in English translation of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen.

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  • Cooper, John Michael. “Hanslick, Eduard (1825–1904).” In Historical Dictionary of Romantic Music. Edited by John Michael Cooper, 263–265. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2013.

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    A concise and informative overview of the various aspects of Hanslick’s biography, career, and output, from his journalistic writings to his aesthetic monograph and critical writings. Particularly notable for challenging the view of Hanslick as a single-minded champion of absolute music and an opponent of program music.

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  • Grey, Thomas. Wagner’s Musical Prose: Texts and Contexts. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511470301Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although not the principal subject of this book, Hanslick’s presence nonetheless pervades it, with Grey engagingly addressing Hanslick’s theories of listening, the question of the autonomy of music, and the issue of “absolute music” in relation to Wagner’s pronouncements on this matter.

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  • Grey, Thomas. “Hanslick, Eduard.” In Grove Music Online. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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    An informative and balanced overview of Hanslick’s life and output. Divided into three sections: (1) Life, (2) Aesthetics, and (3) Criticism. Includes a detailed bibliography. Available online by subscription.

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  • Grimes, Nicole, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, eds. Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Formalism, and Expression. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    This is the first, extensive English-language study devoted to Hanslick. It examines Hanslick’s contribution to the aesthetics and philosophy of music and to music criticism as well as reappraises his literary interests. It goes beyond the polarities that have long marked discussion of Hanslick’s work. It also contains an introduction and chronology.

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  • Payzant, Geoffrey. Hanslick on the Musically Beautiful: Sixteen Lectures on the Musical Aesthetics of Eduard Hanslick. Christchurch, New Zealand: Cyber Editions, 2002.

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    A lucid and engaging introduction to all facets of Hanslick’s writings. It is written with an authority and accessibility that clearly elucidates Hanslick’s ideas for those approaching his work for the first time, while also engaging with a selection of secondary source writings.

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Recent Editions and Resources

This section lists only recent editions and resources that will be useful to scholars concerned with Hanslick’s reviews in their original format, and with the various editions of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. These include ANNO, Hanslick 1990, and Hanslick 1993–2011. Readers should be aware that in addition to the resources cited here, many of Hanslick’s books are available online as downloads from Google Books, Zeno.org, and Internet Archive, including his collected volumes of criticism, the Geschichte des Concertwesens in Wien, his autobiography Aus meinem Leben, and some editions of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen.

  • ANNO: Historische österreichische Zeitungen und Zeitschriften. Austrian National Library.

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    ANNO (Austrian National Newspapers Online) is the virtual newspaper reading room of the Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek) and is available to the public online for free. This vital resource makes all issues of Vienna’s liberal daily newspaper, Neue Freie Presse, available online from 1864 to 1939 in PDF format. Contains all Hanslick’s original reviews written for this paper from 1864 to 1904.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. Vom Musikalisch-Schönen: Ein Beitrag zur Revision der Ästhetik der Tonkunst. 2 vols. Edited by Dietmar Strauß. Mainz, Germany: Schott, 1990.

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    Volume 1 contains Hanslick’s monograph annotated in a critical, synoptic edition that reflects the changes in all ten editions published throughout his lifetime. Volume 2 contains a critical commentary and a selection of primary sources from the extended critical essays and book-length studies written in response to, or in reaction to, Hanslick’s monograph.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. Sämtliche Schriften: Historisch-kritische Ausgabe; Aufsätze und Rezensionen. 7 vols. Edited by Dietmar Strauß. Vienna: Böhlau, 1993–2011.

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    This ongoing project, edited by Dietmar Strauß, aims to bring all of Hanslick’s critical writings together in one text-critical series, from 1844 to 1865. It encompasses his early writings before the time of his permanent tenure at the Neue Freie Presse, with the most recent volume picking up at this point.

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English Translations of Hanslick’s Writings

This section outlines most substantial English translations of Hanslick’s writings. Hanslick 1950 is the standard text for English-language readers of Hanslick’s reviews, whereas Hanslick 1986 is the most reliable translation of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. Readers particularly interested in Hanslick’s views on Berlioz are referred to Payzant 1991, those interested in Brahms to Hanslick 1990 and Hanslick 2009a, those interested in Mahler to Hanslick 2002, and those interested in Wagner to Hanslick 2009b.

  • Hanslick, Eduard. Vienna’s Golden Years of Music. Translated by Henry Pleasants. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1950.

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    For a long time, Pleasants’s translation was the only one available to English-language scholars. The translation itself is reliable and elegant. The choice of reviews is necessarily selective, yet seems to reinforce the view of Hanslick as a champion of absolute music. (See also Absolute Music.) The volume nonetheless remains an important and oft-cited point of reference.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. On the Musically Beautiful: A Contribution Towards the Revision of the Aesthetics of Music. Translated and edited by Geoffrey Payzants. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1986.

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    This is the second, complete English translation of the eighth edition of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen: Ein Beitrag zur Revision der Ästhetik der Tonkunst (1891), and is widely considered the most reliable. Some scholars prefer Cohen’s translation of The Beautiful in Music (1891), as being linguistically superior to Payzant’s. What Payzant lacks in elegance of language, however, he makes up for in accuracy of translation.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Brahms’s Newest Instrumental Compositions.” In Brahms and His World. Translated by Susan Gillespie and edited by Walter Frisch, 145–150. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990.

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    An English translation of a number of Brahms’s chamber music reviews including Op. 99, Op. 100, and Op. 108, along with a review of the Concerto for Violin and Cello, Op. 102. (See also Johannes Brahms.)

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Robert Schumann in Endenich (1899).” In Schumann and His World. Translated by Susan Gillespie and edited by Ralph Larry Todd, 268–287. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.

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    An English translation of Hanslick’s candid account of Schumann’s last years and days. It includes critical reflections on his compositions, personal recollections, and a number of complete letters that Schumann wrote from the sanatorium to Clara Schumann, Brahms, and Joseph Joachim.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Mahler’s German-Language Critics.” In Mahler and His World. Edited and translated by Karen Painter and Bettina Varwig, 267–378. Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002.

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    Translation of and commentary on Hanslick’s review of Mahler’s First Symphony. (See also Gustav Mahler.)

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Johannes Brahms: The Last Days.” In Brahms and His World. Rev. ed. Translated by Susan Gillespie, Andrew Homan, and Caroline Homan and edited by Walter Frisch and Kevin C. Karnes, 307–337. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009a.

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    This translation comprises two parts of Hanslick’s obituary on Brahms. First, it documents Brahms’s last summer. Secondly, it includes correspondence between Brahms and Hanslick, including many complete letters, some of which address Vom Musikalisch-Schönen.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Hanslick contra Wagner: ‘The Ring Cycle Comes to Vienna’ and ‘Parsifal Literature.’” In Richard Wagner and His World. Translated and edited by Thomas Grey, 409–425. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009b.

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    A translation of Hanslick’s review of the first production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen seen at the Vienna Court Opera (Hofoper) between 1877 and 1879, and his review of Parsifal (and other Wagnerian) “literature” written in 1882 following the second Bayreuth festival.

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  • Payzant, Geoffrey. Eduard Hanslick and Ritter Berlioz in Prague. Calgary, Canada: University of Calgary Press, 1991.

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    This volume, concerning the time Berlioz spent in Prague in the 1840s, contains translations of many lengthy excerpts of Hanslick’s writings on Berlioz. (See also Hector Berlioz and Hanslick’s Prague.)

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Hanslick’s Criticism on Individual Composers

Hanslick’s activity as a music critic was vast. He wrote about every composer whose music he encountered in public concert and theater life, the number running into hundreds. At times, he wrote extended essays on individual composers that were not reviews, reviewed performers, wrote a great deal of opera criticism, and tended to review every piece or set of pieces on a concert he attended. Only those composers with whom he was particularly occupied or for whom there is particular scholarly interest in relation to Hanslick are included here. Hanslick wrote a great deal on many of the composers in this section, yet the secondary literature does not currently reflect this. The lack of sources highlights many areas of Hanslick scholarship that continue to offer great potential for fruitful development.

Johann Sebastian Bach

The dearth of scholarship on Hanslick’s reception of Bach does not adequately reflect the high esteem in which the critic held his music. Karnes 2008 redresses this imbalance in Hanslick scholarship.

  • Karnes, Kevin C. Music, Criticism, and the Challenge of History: Shaping Modern Musical Thought in Late Nineteenth-Century Vienna. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368666.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Karnes explores Hanslick’s historiography in his writings on Baroque and pre-Baroque composers. Compares Hanslick’s reception of Palestrina, Händel, and Bach, noting Hanslick’s immense admiration for the latter in particular. See “The Uses of Cultural History and the Traces of Culture,” pp. 65–75.

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Ludwig van Beethoven

Lodes 2010 provides the most comprehensive commentary on and analysis of Hanslick’s reception of Beethoven’s entire output. Maus 2013 focuses in particular on Hanslick’s famous review of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis of 1861.

  • Lodes, Birgit. “Hanslick und Beethoven.” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 259–295. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    A survey of Hanslick’s writings on Beethoven in Vom Musikalisch-Schönen and the critical writings. Explores the question of whether Hanslick’s view of Beethoven was mediated by the New German School, and compares Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis to Liszt’s Graner Festmesse. Includes many lengthy citations from Hanslick’s writings.

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  • Maus, Fred Everett. “Hanslick’s Composers.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 38–51. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    Contained within this article (which is ostensibly a perceptive study of Hanslick’s modes of listening) is a considered discussion of Hanslick’s account of an ethical character in Beethoven’s works—particularly the Missa Solemnis. (See also Hanslick and Modes of Listening.)

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Hector Berlioz

Berlioz seems to have had a formative influence on the critic at the cusp of his career, even if, in Vom Musikalisch-Schönen, Hanslick changed his mind on his reverence for Berlioz’s output in the 1840s to a more critical stance, as addressed in both Payzant 1991 and Strauß 1993.

  • Payzant, Geoffrey. Eduard Hanslick and Ritter Berlioz in Prague. Calgary, Canada: University of Calgary Press, 1991.

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    A detailed record of Berlioz’s visit to Prague in 1846, during which he gave six concerts. Documents the interaction between Hanslick and Berlioz, and gives an account of Hanslick’s subsequent and considerable change of opinion on Berlioz, for the worst, in 1847. (See also Hanslick’s Prague.)

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  • Strauß, Dietmar. “‘. . . O Praga! Quando te Aspiciam . . .’ Die Prager Berlioz-Rezeption und das Musikalisch-Schönen.” In Aufsätze und Rezension, 1844–1848. Vol. 1, Part 1 of Sämtliche Schriften: Historisch-kritische Ausgabe. By Eduard Hanslick and edited by Dietmar Strauß, 300–314. Vienna: Böhlau, 1993.

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    Charts Berlioz’s reception in Prague in the context of earlier German-speaking reception, the Prague Davidsbund, King Lear and Berlioz’s great critical acclaim in the city, and Hanslick’s critical support for Berlioz. The article culminates in a comparative discussion of Hanslick’s critical stance on Berlioz’s music in Vom Musikalisch-Schönen in 1854. (See also Hanslick’s Prague.)

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Johannes Brahms

Since the late 19th century Hanslick has been held up as a champion of “Brahms the absolute.” (See also Absolute Music.) Although the perception of Brahms as a composer of absolute music has been challenged and eroded since the 1970s, the view of Hanslick persists, principally in the writings Floros 2010 and McClary’s “Narrative Agendas in ‘Absolute’ Music: Identity and Difference in Brahms’s Third Symphony” (pp. 326–345) in Musicology and Difference: Gender and Sexuality in Music Scholarship (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993). Hinrichsen 1997 seeks to recover Hanslick from the arena of formalism and absolute music. In doing so, the author consults only Hanslick’s aesthetic output, and not his critical writings on Brahms. Grimes 2011 and Grimes 2013 puts forward a view of Hanslick as one of the few critics amenable to understanding the poetic, autobiographical, and sociopolitical associations in Brahms’s music, thereby directly disputing Floros 2010. Karnes 2004 explores Hanslick’s writings on Brahms against the backdrop of the emergence of musicology at the University of Vienna. Notley 2007 explores Hanslick’s and Brahms’s shared liberal identity. Included in this section are also a number of translations of Hanslick’s writings on Brahms in Hanslick 1990 and Hanslick 2009 (see also English Translations of Hanslick’s Writings).

  • Floros, Constantin. Johannes Brahms: “Free but Alone.” Translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2010.

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    Offers a view of Hanslick as being solely responsible for the reputation of Brahms as a composer of “absolute” music, and portrays Hanslick as a critic who took a rigorously autonomous approach to Brahms’s output as well as ignored its autobiographical and poetic elements. Floros’s arguments are strongly disputed in Grimes 2011 and Grimes 2013. Originally published in German as Johannes Brahms “Frei aber einsam”: Ein Leben für poetische Musik (Zürich, Switzerland, and Hamburg, Germany: Arche, 1997).

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  • Grimes, Nicole. “Brahms’s Poetic Allusions through Hanslick’s Critical Lens.” American Brahms Society Newsletter 29.2 (Autumn 2011): 5–9.

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    A short article that explores Hanslick’s reviews of Brahms’s Violin Sonatas and late piano music, to illustrate the extent to which Hanslick appreciated the poetic elements in Brahms’s music. Considers this in context of changing landscapes in Cold War musicology, New Musicology, and trends in Hanslick scholarship.

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  • Grimes, Nicole. “German Liberalism, Nationalism, and Humanism in Hanslick’s Writings on Brahms.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 160–184. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    Through the lens of Hanslick’s reviews of Brahms’s single-movement choral works of the 1870s and 1880s, this article demonstrates the extent to which Hanslick explored the poetic, political, religious, social, and biographical aspects of Brahms’s music. Author situates these reviews within the context of Viennese liberalism.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Brahms’s Newest Instrumental Compositions.” In Brahms and His World. Translated by Susan Gillespie and edited by Walter Frisch, 145–150. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990.

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    An English translation of Hanslick’s review of Brahms’s Cello Sonata in F Major, Op. 99; Violin Sonata in A Major, Op. 100; Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 108; and Concerto for Violin and Cello, Op. 102.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Johannes Brahms: The Last Days.” In Brahms and His World. Rev. ed. Translated by Susan Gillespie, Andrew Homan, and Caroline Homan and edited by Walter Frisch and Kevin C. Karnes, 307–337. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

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    Two selections of Hanslick’s writings that comprise his obituary for Brahms: the first, a record of the composer’s last summer; and the second, a more extensive memoir containing many complete letters that include, among other things, comments on Vom Musikalisch-Schönen.

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  • Hinrichsen, Hans-Joachim. “‘Auch das Schöne muß sterben’ oder Die Vermittlung von biographischer und ästhetischer Subjektivität im Musikalisch-Schönen: Brahms, Hanslick und Schillers Nänie.” In Johannes Brahms oder Die Relativierung der “absoluten” Musik. Edited by Hanns-Werner Heister, 121–154. Hamburg, Germany: von Bockel, 1997.

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    Hinrichsen defends Hanslick against charges of formalism that stem from a singularly formalist reading of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen, using Brahms’s Nänie, Op. 82—a setting of Schiller— to highlight the metaphysical aspects of Hanslick’s theory. He does not consider Hanslick’s review of this same work.

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  • Karnes, Kevin C. “Eduard Hanslick’s History: A Forgotten Narrative of Brahms’s Vienna.” American Brahms Society Newsletter 22.2 (2004): 1–5.

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    A cogent assessment of Hanslick’s legacy as a historian upon his retirement from the University of Vienna. Viewed against the backdrop of the emergence of musicology as a discipline, sees Hanslick’s unorthodox approach to writing music history to have redefined what it meant to be a historian and what historians did.

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  • Notley, Margaret. Lateness and Brahms: Music and Culture in the Twilight of Viennese Liberalism. AMS Studies in Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    Hanslick features throughout Notley’s monograph on Brahms, particularly from the point of view of Brahms’s and Hanslick’s shared liberal identity, and in her study of the Viennese audience’s appetite for symphonic repertoire (pp. 150–160).

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Anton Bruckner

Despite ubiquitous references to the adversarial nature of the relationship between Hanslick and Bruckner, very little sustained attention has been given to the nature of their relationship in late-nineteenth century Vienna. Wagner 2010 is the only source to give sustained attention to this aspect of Hanslick’s critical output.

  • Wagner, Manfred. “Bruckner und Hanslick.” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 309–316. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    Challenges the stereotypical view of Hanslick’s reception of Bruckner as singularly hostile by elucidating the complexity of the relationship between the two figures (who were on collegial and friendly terms for many years). Outlines that Hanslick wrote many positive reviews of Bruckner, but also derided the symphonies and thwarted Bruckner’s prospects of securing a post at the University of Vienna.

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Antonin Dvořák

Hanslick’s encounters with and reception of Dvořák are significant for a number of reasons. Both critic and composer originally came from Prague and subsequently moved to Vienna, an aspect of their relationship explored in Clapham 1971 in connection with Dvořák’s first substantial success in Vienna; their alternative attitudes toward their shared Czech heritage is rigorously interrogated in Brodbeck 2007 in the context of German liberalism and nationalism. Dvořák presents a particularly interesting case where Hanslick and program music is concerned. For, he is a composer whom Hanslick admired and who, nonetheless, transgressed the boundaries of what Hanslick deemed appropriate for the genre of program music, as explored in Larkin 2013.

  • Brodbeck, David. “Dvořák’s Reception in Liberal Vienna: Language Ordinances, National Property, and the Rhetoric of Deutschtum.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 60.1 (Spring 2007): 71–132.

    DOI: 10.1525/jams.2007.60.1.71Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An award-winning article comprising a comparative reading of Dvořák’s reception by Hanslick and Theodor Helm that analyzes the nuances and complexities of liberalism in Vienna in the closing decades of the 19th century, teasing out changing conceptions of German identity, from something rooted in culture to something rooted in ethnicity.

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  • Clapham, John. “Dvořák’s Relationship with Brahms and Hanslick.” Musical Quarterly 57.2 (April 1971): 241–254.

    DOI: 10.1093/mq/LVII.2.241Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive record of the relationship between Dvořák and Hanslick from when he and Brahms sat on the jury that awarded Dvořák the Austrian State Prize (1877), through Hanslick’s attempts to Germanize the composer in the 1880s. Includes very useful, lengthy excerpts of their correspondence in English translation.

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  • Larkin, David. “Battle Rejoined: Hanslick and the Symphonic Poem in the 1890s.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 289–310. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    A study of Hanslick’s changing views on program music based on the work of two composers who wrote symphonic poems throughout their long careers—Dvořák and Richard Strauss. Interrogates the musical, critical, and polemical reasons for the vicissitudes of Hanslick’s judgments of this genre.

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Carl Goldmark

Scholarship on Cartl Goldmark is a growing field in recent musicology. Brodbeck 2013 is the first to give considered attention to Hanslick’s reception of this composer, which he does within a socio-political context.

  • Brodbeck, David. “Poison-Flaming Flowers from the Orient and Nightingales from Bayreuth”: On Hanslick’s Reception of the Music of Goldmark.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Formalism, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 132–159. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    A thorough investigation of Hanslick’s critical reception of Goldmark, including his many reviews of operas, chamber music, and instrumental music in relation to issues of liberalism, ethnicity, and German national identity in Vienna. Includes abundant translations of Hanslick’s reviews.

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Franz Joseph Haydn

The dearth of scholarship on Hanslick’s reception of Haydn reflects his comparative lack of interest in this composer. Botstein 1998 accounts for this lacuna by making a comparison with the critic’s reception of Beethoven.

  • Botstein, Leon. “The Consequence of Presumed Innocence: The Nineteenth-Century Reception of Joseph Haydn.” In Haydn Studies. Edited by Dean Sutcliffe, 1–34. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511481888.003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Botstein outlines a critical fatigue on Hanslick’s part—as a reflection of the Viennese audience—with Haydn in the late 19th century that is invariably paired with enthusiasm for Beethoven. This includes a lengthy translation of Hanslick’s writing on Haydn.

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Franz Liszt

Hanslick’s criticisms of Liszt’s compositions began with the controversy surrounding progress in music in the Austro-German sphere in the mid-19th century, and lasted throughout his entire life. Altenburg 1980 provides a very useful introduction to these disputes with reference not only to Liszt’s compositional output, but also to the writings of both Hanslick and Liszt. Cha 2007 contextualizes these debates with Hegelian aesthetics and the ongoing conflict regarding the spiritual content of music. Deaville 2002 scrutinizes the broader debates in the aftermath of the first edition of Hanslick’s Vom Musikalisch-Schönen, documenting and analyzing critical responses to that text by Liszt, among others. Gärtner 2005 provides a comprehensive and informative analysis of the nature of the dispute between Hanslick and Liszt, and interrogates Hanslick’s reasons for his lasting criticism of the composer. Grimes revisits this controversy from the vantage point of the 1880s when the hotbed of criticism had long cooled down, examining a little-known review of Liszt’s Dante Symphony from 1881.

  • Altenburg, Detlef. “Vom poetisch Schönen: Franz Liszts Auseinandersetzung mit der Musikästhetik Eduard Hanslicks.” In Ars musica, musica scientia: Festschrift Heinrich Hüschen zum fünfundsechzigsten Geburtstag am 2. März 1980. Edited by Detlef Altenburg, 1–9. Cologne: Gitarre & Laute, 1980.

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    Set against the backdrop of the publication and performance of Liszt’s Symphonic Poems, this provides a useful overview of and introduction to mid-century polemics as they played out in the writings of Hanslick (from 1854) and Liszt (from 1855), with generous quotations given from original sources.

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  • Cha, Jee-Weon. “Ton versus Dichtung: Two Aesthetic Theories of the Symphonic Poem and Their Sources.” Journal of Musicological Research 26.4 (2007): 377–403.

    DOI: 10.1080/01411890701620481Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Employs the autonomy/heteronomy polarity in tracing the changing relationship between music and language related to the genre of the Symphonic Poem in the writings of Hanslick and Liszt. Traces how each figure aligned himself with Hegel’s aesthetics (here explored in detail) to claim ownership of the spiritual content of music.

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  • Deaville, James. “The Controversy Surrounding Liszt’s Conception of Programme Music.” Paper presented at the University of Bristol, July 1998. In Nineteenth-Century Music: Selected Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference. Edited by Jim Samson and Bennett Zon, 98–124. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2002.

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    A thorough and informative investigation of the context of the publication of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen in relation to Liszt’s prose writings on program music and mid-century debates about progress in music. Provides a clear chronology of responses to Vom Musikalisch-Schönen in the 19th and early 20th centuries (including Printz, Schäfke, Cornelius, and others).

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  • Gärtner, Markus. Eduard Hanslick versus Franz Liszt: Aspekte einer grundlegenden Kontroverse. Hildesheim, Germany: Georg Olms, 2005.

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    Explores the degree to which Hanslick’s consistent objections to Liszt’s music were based on compositional technique, as opposed to generic questions regarding program music and the symphonic poem. Gärtner finds that an “understanding” of music meant something fundamentally different for Hanslick and Liszt.

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  • Grimes, Nicole. “A Critical Inferno: Hanslick, Hoplit, and Liszt’s Dante Symphony.” Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland 7 (2011–2012): 3–22.

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    Explores a question that preoccupied Hanslick throughout his career—how to distinguish between form with spiritual dimension and hollow form—through Hanslick’s writings on Liszt, particularly the Dante Symphony. Much attention given to writings of Richard Pohl. Examines Hanslick’s views on religion.

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Gustav Mahler

Hanslick lived until 1904 and, although the frequency with which he published reviews lessened as the evening of his life progressed, he never withdrew completely from writing criticism. His reviews of Mahler are particularly interesting as they document his response to the musical world of Fin-de-siècle Vienna. Those reviews are translated into English in Hanslick 2002. Kasunic 2013 critically engages these reviews from the perspective of genre designation and in the context of a shared Jewish and Bohemian background.

  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Mahler’s German-Language Critics.” In Mahler and His World. Edited and translated by Karen Painter and Bettina Varwig, 267–378. Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002.

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    Translation of and commentary on Hanslick’s review of Mahler’s First Symphony where he argued that the incomprehensibility of the work in musical terms must indicate that there is a secret program, and signaled his wish to review the symphony on a future occasion.

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  • Kasunic, David. “On ‘Jewishness’ and Genre: Hanslick’s Reception of Gustav Mahler.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 311–338. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    Focusing on Hanslick’s reviews of Mahler’s Orchestral Lieder, Symphony No. 1, and activity as conductor, investigates the extent to which Mahler’s Jewish descent mattered to Hanslick. Interrogates the constructor of Mahler’s musical meaning for Hanslick: whether in the musical work or in a musical performance comprised of performing bodies.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Given the relatively Hanslick’s relatively small output concerning the music of Mozart, Hanslick 1880 occupies an important place in outlining the high esteem in which Hanslick held Mozart as an opera composer.

  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Mozart.” In Die moderne Oper: Kritiken und Studien. By Eduard Hanslick, 29–60. Berlin: Hofmann, 1880.

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    Beginning with what he considers to be the seven masterpieces of Mozart’s operatic output—Idomeneo, Entführung aus dem Serail, Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan Tutte, Die Zauberflöte, and La Celemenzo di Tito—Hanslick narrows the focus to the three incomparable cornerstones of German opera—Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Zauberflöte—in making his case for why Mozart’s operas remain fresh and compelling to a late-19th-century audience.

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Jacques Offenbach

Hanslick’s admiration for the music of Offenbach came in a number of guises, from his changing perspectives on the status of operetta as a genre, explored in Gooley 2013, to his admiration for Offenbach’s comic operas, seen in Hanslick 1872, and his extolling the virtues of the musical farce as a genre, as explored in Gooley 2013. The esteem in which the critic held the composer finds further expression in Hanslick’s autobiography, Hanslick 1894.

  • Gooley, Dana. “Hanslick on Johann Strauss Jr.: Genre, Social Class, and Liberalism in Vienna.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 91–107. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    Primarily concerned with Johann Strauss Jr., this article also has much insight into Hanslick’s changing views on the music of Offenbach.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Operette und Singspiel.” Neue Freie Presse, 30 May 1872: 1–3.

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    This review by Hanslick deals mostly with Offenbach’s comic opera Fantasio, in the context of a broader consideration of the composer’s output. Large parts of it are translated by Michael Haas, available online.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “J. Offenbach.” In Aus dem Opernleben der Gegenwart: Neue Kritiken und Studien. By Eduard Hanslick, 268–290. Berlin: Hofmann, 1884.

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    An obituary written on the composer’s death in 1880, comprising an overview of Offenbach’s output and praising his ingenious talent and extraordinary understanding of the stage. Hanslick credits Offenbach with creating the category of musical farce (“Posse”) and notes his formative influence on subsequent generations of French and German composers. Punctuated by personal remembrances and recollections.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. Aus meinem Leben. Vol. 2, Dichtung und Wahrheit. Berlin: Allgemeine Verein für Deutsche Litteratur, 1894.

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    Hanslick dedicated a full chapter of his autobiography to Offenbach, discussing matters such as the “gemütlich” German nature of the composer, the freshness of his melodic invention, his formidable knowledge of the stage and theater effects, and the relationship between composer and librettist. See pp. 81–86.

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Giacomo Puccini

Hanslick’s critical views on Puccini, in particular the 1897 review of La Bohéme, was gathered in his collecting writings (Hanslick 1899) and is translated in full with a critical commentary in Groos and Parker 1986.

  • Groos, Arthur, and Roger Parker. “Three Early Critics and the Brothers Mann: Aspects of La bohème Reception.” In Giacomo Puccini: La bohème. Edited by Arthur Groos and Roger Parker, 129–141. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

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    Hanslick’s entire review of the 1897 Vienna premiere of La bohème is reproduced and translated here with a critical commentary contextualizing Hanslick’s view of Puccini and his ideas on the progress of Italian opera. Also highlights that Hanslick fails to discuss the overtly Wagnerian aspects of Puccini’s opera.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Die Bohème von Puccini.” In Am Ende des Jahrhunderts (1895–1899). By Eduard Hanslick, 75–85. Berlin: Allgemeine Verein für Deutsche Litteratur, 1899.

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    In this 1897 review of the Viennese premiere of Puccini’s La bohème, Hanslick is highly critical of the prosaic dissoluteness of Puccini’s realistic detail and bemoans the composer’s perceived lack of musical organization. Couched within a broader discussion of verismo—relentless realism—in contemporary operas by Leoncavallo, Verdi, Massenet, and Bizet.

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Franz Schubert

Schubert is a significant composer in Hanslick’s history of Vienna, as evidenced in Hanslick 1869. The centenary celebrations in Vienna of Schubert’s birth in 1797 caused Hanslick to revisit his view of the composer in Hanslick 1897. It is this centenary article that forms the basis for the reflections in Gibbs 1997 and Messing 2007.

  • Gibbs, Christopher H. “German Reception: Schubert’s ‘Journey to Immortality.’” In The Cambridge Companion to Schubert. Edited by Christopher H. Gibbs, 241–253. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL9780521482295Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contextualizes Hanslick’s reception of Schubert among the broader German reception of the composer throughout the 19th century following Schubert’s death as new works continued to be discovered.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. Geschichte des Concertwesens in Wien. 2 vols. Vienna: W. Braumüller, 1869.

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    Schubert plays a significant role in Hanslick’s history of Vienna, not least because Hanslick designates the period from the end of the Congress of Vienna to the death of Schubert as the “Age of Beethoven and Schubert,” but also because he rigorously assesses Schubert’s place in the musical life of Vienna in the 1820s.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Feuilleton: Zum Schubert-Jubiläum; I. Die Austellung.” Neue Freie Presse, (Morgenblatt) 21 January 1897: 1–3.

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    The celebration of the centennial of Schubert’s birth in Vienna provided the opportunity for Hanslick to reflect on the composer’s place in Viennese musical life. Messing 2007 notes that Hanslick’s feuilleton was devoid of the political partisanship evidenced in the reports of his younger journalistic counterparts.

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  • Messing, Scott. “1897: The Politics of a Schubert Year.” In Fin-de-Siècle Vienna. Vol. 2 of Schubert in the European Imagination. By Scott Messing, 37–69. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2007.

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    Gives extended consideration to Hanslick’s reflections on Schubert in the broader context of the unprecedented celebration of that composer in his native city on the hundredth anniversary of his birth. Notes how Hanslick’s coverage of these centennial events stands apart from contemporary reports in avoiding political interests and agendas.

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Robert Schumann

Both Hanslick 1899 and Tunbridge 2007 are principally concerned with the final years of Schumann’s life, particularly his time in Endenich, Germany, and the question of the impact of his mental illness on his compositional process.

  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Robert Schumann in Endenich, mit ungedruckten Briefen von ihm.” In Am Ende des Jahrhunderts (1895–1899): Musikalische Kritiken und Schilderungen. Edited by Eduard Hanslick, 317–342. Berlin: Allgemeine Verein für deutsche Litteratur, 1899.

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    Hanslick’s account of Schumann’s last years and his last days at the sanatorium in Endenich. Along with Hanslick’s reflections, it includes a collection of letters transcribed in full from Schumann to Clara Schumann, Brahms, and Joseph Joachim.

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  • Tunbridge, Laura. Schumann’s Late Style. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    In exploring Schumann’s late style, Tunbridge outlines Hanslick’s focus on Schumann’s mental illness following the composer’s death, specifically in his piece “Robert Schumann in Endenich” (pp. 165–166 and 210). (See also English Translations of Hanslick’s Writings.)

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Bedřich Smetana

Whereas Hanslick openly embraced German nationalism and liberalism, his fellow Bohemian, Smetana, never did so. The reception of Smetana’s works in Austro-German lands provides a fascinating and burgeoning area of scholarship that Brodbeck 2009a and Brodbeck 2009b explore from the changing perspectives of national identity, politics, race, and ethnicity.

  • Brodbeck, David. “Hanslick’s Smetana and Hanslick’s Prague.” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 134.1 (2009a): 1–36.

    DOI: 10.1080/14716930902809114Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An exploration of Hanslick’s reviews of Smetana in the 1880s and 1890s that focuses on three case studies (String Quartet: From My Life; “Vltava”; “Vyšehrad”) to argue that Hanslick’s reviews are better understood in terms of his own German liberalism than in terms of Smetana’s Czech nationalism.

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  • Brodbeck, David. “‘Ausgleichs-Abende’: The First Viennese Performance of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride.” Austrian Studies 17 (2009b): 43–61.

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    Teases out the complex tensions between the Habsburg Monarchy’s German and Czech nationalities through the reception of Czech opera (particularly Smetana) in Vienna by German liberal and nationalist press of the 1890s (including Hanslick). Traces changing conceptions of German identity from something rooted in culture to something rooted in ethnicity.

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Johann Strauss I & II

Hanslick’s critical writings on Johann Strauss Sr. and Jr. provide a fascinating lens through which to view his changing attitudes on matters from the status of the waltz and operetta as genres to his liberal ideology in fin-de-siècle Vienna. For an overview of Hanslick’s writings on Strauss and operetta, see Crittenden 2000; on Hanslick’s attitudes to the dance and its relationship to Viennese liberalism, see Frankenbach 2013; and for a discussion of Hanslick’s writings on Strauss Jr. against the cultural and political backdrop of Viennese society from mid-century to the fin-de-siècle, see Gooley 2013.

  • Crittenden, Camille. Johann Strauss and Vienna: Operetta and the Politics of Popular Culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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    Scattered throughout Crittenden’s account of the inception and development of Viennese operetta are useful fragments of and reflections upon Hanslick’s reviews on Johann Strauss I & II, and a contextualization of Hanslick’s writings on operetta among those of his contemporary critics. Includes many short passages in English translation.

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  • Frankenbach, Chantal. “Waltzing Around the Musically Beautiful: Listening and Dancing in Hanslick’s Hierarchy of Musical Perception.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 108–131. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    An exploration of Hanslick’s response to dance forms and their changing generic designations in relation to Strauss Sr. and Jr. Contrasts Hanslick’s attitude to dance in Vom Musikalisch-Schönen with his critical writings, addressing his attitudes on women, and the relationship between pleasure and reason, in the broader context of Vienna as a fin-de-siècle city of paradoxes.

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  • Gooley, Dana. “Hanslick on Johann Strauss Jr.: Genre, Social Class, and Liberalism in Vienna.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 91–107. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    An investigation of the overlap between art-genre, social hierarchy, and liberal ideology in Hanslick’s reviews and essays on Johann Strauss Jr., whose compositional trajectory, it is shown, both mirrors and challenges the liberal ideology that underpins Hanslick’s criticism.

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Richard Strauss

Hanslick’s writings on Richard Strauss, as with those of Mahler, provide an important document of his reception of the early works of two composers who would reach full maturity in the 20th century. Larkin 2013 turns its attention to the issue of program music by way of comparing Hanslick’s response to the music of Richard Strauss and Dvořák. Youmans 2005 shows how intricately both composer and critic were bound up with the German intellectual tradition, which continued to exert a powerful influence on composers throughout the 20th century.

  • Larkin, David. “Battle Rejoined: Hanslick and the Symphonic Poem in the 1890s.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 289–310. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    A study of Hanslick’s engagement with the symphonic poem in the 1890s as viewed primarily through his writings on Richard Strauss and Dvořák. Tackles head-on received polarities such as absolute/program music and Brahms/Wagner allegiances. Brings new insights to Hanslick’s view of Symphonic Poem qua genre.

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  • Youmans, Charles. Richard Strauss’s Orchestral Music and the German Intellectual Tradition: The Philosophical Roots of Musical Modernism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.

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    Chapter 1, section 1, “Music’s Philosophical Status in Late-Nineteenth-Century Germany,” (pp. 3–15) reconnects the notion of “modern” with aesthetics as opposed to musical technique. Youmans gives significant attention to Hanslick, in particular, his metaphysical reading of music’s autonomous nature, and disputes the notion that Hanslick was a purely formalist critic.

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Giuseppe Verdi

Hanslick reviewed a considerable number of Verdi’s operas throughout his career, and was one of the first to put forward the view that Verdi’s works composed in a popular idiom were his strongest. Jahn 2010 provides an overview of this reception with many lengthy excerpts from Hanslick’s writings. Springer 2005 provides deeper critical engagement with Hanslick’s changing views of the Italian composer.

  • Jahn, Michael. “‘Bei all’ seiner Intelligenz eine gemeine Natur’ Verdi in der Beurteilung Hanslicks.” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 317–324. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    This essay provides a catalogue of lengthy Hanslick quotations, in German, that will be valuable to those interested in Hanslick’s views on Italian opera. However, there is little or no critical engagement with these sources beyond bullet-point lists outlining what Hanslick found both problematic and praiseworthy in Verdi’s operas.

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  • Springer, Christian. Verdi-Studien: Verdi im Wien; Hanslick versus Verdi; Verdi und Wagner; Zur Interpretation der Werk Verdis; Re Lear—Shakespeare bei Verdi. Vienna: Praesens, 2005.

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    Primarily concerned with Verdi’s visits to Vienna in 1843 and 1875, chapter 2 (pp. 61–152) analyzes Hanslick’s changing views of Verdi and his opinion on Verdi’s singers, and explores the manner in which he sought to influence Verdi reception in German-speaking lands. Also compares Hanslick’s reception of Verdi and Wagner.

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Richard Wagner

Hanslick wrote more on Wagner than he did on any other composer. The variety and complexity of these writings continues to fuel an ongoing interest and fascination as well as an effort to grapple with his music dramas and the phenomenon of Wagnermania in late-19th-century Vienna. Hanslick’s reviews of Wagner range from being emphatic, to equivocal, to downright damning. Those considered here in Strauß 1993 provide a useful cross-section of this range of critical judgments. Perhaps the most renowned Hanslick/Wagner incident is that of the Meistersinger/Beckmesser affair. Goehr 2002 and Grey 2003 provide useful overviews and varying degrees of analysis of this episode. Grey 2010 takes a refreshingly original approach to the relationship between Hanslick and Wagner, suggesting that we may revise our understanding of this composer by better coming to terms with Hanslick’s Wagner reviews.

  • Goehr, Lydia. The Quest for Voice: On Music, Politics, and the Limits of Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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    Explores the nature of the antagonism between Hanslick and Wagner as evidenced in the Meistersinger episode. Compares their respective attitudes toward aesthetic theory: Hanslick’s being metaphysically constrained and Wagner’s being metaphysically inflated. This is postulated on a formalist reading of Hanslick’s monograph, consulting only Hanslick’s writings already in English translation. See chapter 2 (pp. 48–87).

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  • Grey, Thomas. “Masters and Their Critics: Wagner, Hanslick, and Beckmesser.” In Wagner’s Meistersinger: Performance, History, Representation. Edited by Nicholas Vazsonyi, 165–189. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2003.

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    Revisits Hanslick’s central position in the afterword to Wagner’s 1869 republication of Das Judenthum in der Musik. Closely examines the interrelation of critic, essay, and the opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, making a careful distinction between Wagner’s opposition to Jewish musicians in 1850 and to Jewish critics in 1869.

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  • Grey, Thomas. “Berückend wie ein Zauber, aber nicht beglückend wie ein Kunstwerk: Eduard Hanslicks Bewertung von Richard Wagner als musiktheatralischer Maler und Regisseur.” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 233–247. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    A groundbreaking, timely, and highly informative exploration of the space between Hanslick’s “I adore” and “I abhor” positions on Wagner. Outlines Hanslick’s strategy of praising that which does not contradict his negative view of Wagner, but rather supports it. Explores how we may revise our understanding of Wagner through Hanslick’s writings.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Hanslick contra Wagner: ‘The Ring Cycle Comes to Vienna’ and ‘Parsifal Literature.’” In Richard Wagner and His World. Translated and edited by Thomas Grey, 409–425. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

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    The first of these two essays brings together Hanslick’s review of each of the four operas in the Vienna Court Opera (Hofoper) production of Der Ring des Nibelungen between 1877 and 1879. The second, concerning Parsifal and other Wagnerian “literature,” was penned shortly after the second Bayreuth festival.

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  • Strauß, Dietmar. “Hanslicks Tannhäuser-Aufsatz im rezeptionsgeschichtlichen Kontext.” In Aufsätze und Rezensionen, 1844–1848. Vol. 1, Part 1 of Sämtliche Schriften. By Eduard Hanslick and edited by Dietmar Strauß, 315–322. Vienna: Böhlau, 1993.

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    An in-depth discussion of Hanslick’s famous review of Wagner’s Tannhäuser penned after the Dresden performance in December 1846, at which time, for Hanslick, Wagner was “the greatest dramatic talent amongst living composers” (p. 316). Strauß compares Hanslick’s review with Liszt’s essay on Lohengrin and Tannhäuser published in 1851.

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Hanslick’s Prague

Hanslick was born, raised, and educated in Prague, although, in keeping with the sense of German nationalism and liberalism of his adulthood, he consistently downplayed his Czech roots and heritage. In recent years, scholars have become increasingly preoccupied with setting the record straight on Hanslick’s early years. This is for a number of reasons. Payzant 1991 and Strauß 1993b address Hanslick’s change of outlook on Berlioz in the context of his early intellectual environment. Strauß 1993a and Lomnäs, et al. 1999 further explore his early intellectual influences, focusing on the Prague League of David. Grimm 2003 is concerned with Hanslick’s wider intellectual circle in Prague in relation to his philosophical outlook. Ludvová 2010 explores the question of Hanslick’s religious, cultural, and Jewish heritage. Brodbeck 2009 addresses the impact of Hanslick’s German national identity on his reviews of his fellow Bohemian, Smetana, in later years.

  • Brodbeck, David. “Hanslick’s Smetana and Hanslick’s Prague.” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 134.1 (2009): 1–36.

    DOI: 10.1080/14716930902809114Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article changes the emphasis in the scholarly discussion of Hanslick’s Smetana reception from the composer’s nationalism to the critic’s liberalism. This is set against the backdrop of Hanslick’s recollections of German-speaking yet nationally indifferent Vormärz Prague.

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  • Grimm, Ines. Eduard Hanslicks Prager Zeit: Frühe Wurzeln seiner Schrift “Vom Musikalisch-Schönen.” Saarbrücken, Germany: Pfau, 2003.

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    An investigation into the spiritual and cultural climate of Hanslick’s Prague (1825–1846). Traces influence of Bernhard Gutt, Eduard Karl Hoffmann, Václav Jan Tomášek, and Herbart (among others) on Hanslick’s later aesthetic views, and on his eclectic thinking that draws on the Enlightenment, empirical sciences, and metaphysical thought.

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  • Lomnäs, Bonnie, Erling Lomnäs, and Dietmar Strauß, eds. Auf der Suche nach der poetischen Zeit: Der Prager Davidsbund, Ambros, Bach, Bayer, Hampel, Hanslick, Helfert, Heller, Hock, Ulm; Zu einem vergessenen Abschnitt der Musikgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts. 2 vols. Saarbrücken, Germany: Pfau, 1999.

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    An introduction to Hanslick’s Prague with particular emphasis on the Prague League of David (including Ambros, Bach, Bayer, Hampel, Hanslick, Helfert, Heller, Hock, and Ulm), with commentary on the people involved, texts, compositions, and materials. It also explores the Nachlaß of the Prague pianist and music collector Emil Hock (b. 1823–d. 1908), the “last Davidsbündler.”

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  • Ludvová, Jitka. “Einige Prager Realien zum Thema Hanslick.” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 163–179. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    Explores the questions of Hanslick’s religion, Jewish heritage, and relationship to the Czech language, with reference to detailed documentary evidence concerning Hanslick’s parents and their families. Provides key insights into the stimulating intellectual environment in which Hanslick was raised.

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  • Payzant, Geoffrey. Eduard Hanslick and Ritter Berlioz in Prague. Calgary, Canada: University of Calgary Press, 1991.

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    Concerned with Hanslick’s volte-face between 1846, when Berlioz gave a series of six concerts in Prague, about which the young critic was extravagantly enthusiastic, and 1847, when Hanslick publicly questioned whether Berlioz’s output was music at all. A wealth of source material is consulted and translated.

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  • Strauß, Dietmar. “Vom Davidsbund zum ästhetischen Manifest: Zu Eduard Hanslicks Schriften 1844–1854.” In Aufsätze und Rezension, 1844–1848. Vol. 1, Part 1 of Sämtliche Schriften: Historisch-kritische Ausgabe. By Eduard Hanslick and edited by Dietmar Strauß, 271–299. Vienna: Böhlau, 1993a.

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    A comprehensive overview of Hanslick’s career from 1844 to 1854. Contextualizes the nonfictional Prague Davidsbund in relation to early Romantic aesthetics and Schumann’s fictitious model. Important benchmarks are covered, such as Hanslick’s tenure at the Wiener Zeitung, the 1848 revolutions, his ascendance through social ranks, and activity as political correspondent.

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  • Strauß, Dietmar. “‘. . . O Praga! Quando te Aspiciam . . .’ Die Prager Berlioz-Rezeption und das Musikalisch-Schönen.” In Aufsätze und Rezension, 1844–1848. Vol. 1, Part 1 of Sämtliche Schriften: Historisch-kritische Ausgabe. By Eduard Hanslick and edited by Dietmar Strauß, 300–314. Vienna: Böhlau, 1993b.

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    Along with a substantial consideration of Berlioz’s reception in Prague, this article contains a lengthy comparative discussion of Hanslick’s critical stance on the music of Berlioz in the 1854 monograph on aesthetics Vom Musikalisch-Schönen.

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Hanslick and Other Viennese Music Critics

Hanslick’s tenure at the Neue Freie Presse coincided with the heyday of the music feuilleton that thrived in Viennese daily papers. Although, in the early 21st century, we remember Hanslick better than any other such feuilleton authors, in the late 19th century, he was one of many, including figures such as Robert Hirschfeld, August Wilhelm Ambros, and Hugo Wolf, among others. Botstein 1985 and McColl 1996 seek to convey the richness of this world of Viennese music criticism while also restoring a sense of balance to Hanslick’s role therein. McColl 1995 also turns to the feuilleton by way of critically assessing the response in Vienna to the death of Hanslick in 1904.

  • Botstein, Leon. “Music and Its Public: Habits of Listening and the Crisis of Musical Modernism in Vienna, 1870–1914.” PhD diss., Harvard University, 1985.

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    Often critical of the inflated role Hanslick’s critical output is awarded in accounts of music criticism in mid- to late-19th-century Vienna, and postulated on a conservative view of Hanslick, this important dissertation contextualizes Hanslick’s writings in relation to changing habits of listening, and assesses his influence on these changes.

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  • McColl, Sandra. “To Bury Hanslick or to Praise Him? The Obituaries of 1904.” Musicology Australia 18.1 (1995): 39–51.

    DOI: 10.1080/08145857.1995.10415262Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Interesting perspective on how Hanslick was viewed upon his death in 1904, and what the lasting issues were for his legacy. McColl divides her enquiry between a number of obituaries by many young Wagnerians, and those of Robert Hirschfeld and Richard Wallaschek (which differ from opinions they expressed in the 1880s).

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  • McColl, Sandra. Critically Moving Forms in Vienna 1896–97. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

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    Hanslick features as a major player in McColl’s chronological cross-section of Viennese music criticism that witnessed, among other things, the deaths of Brahms and Bruckner. Rather than viewing him as dominating the musical scene, however, McColl sees him as just one star in a constellation of Viennese feuilleton authors.

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Absolute Music

The concepts of “absolute music” and “program music” have been intricately linked in Hanslick reception since the early 20th century. The trajectory of scholarship in this area throughout the 20th century runs from Hanslick being opposed to program music, to being opposed to extra musical adjuncts, to being a champion of “absolute music” who conceives of this art form as being hermetically sealed off from its expressive content and cultural context. The further we progress along this continuum, the further we depart from Hanslick’s meaning in the one instance in his monograph in which he used the term “absolute.” There, he wrote that “instrumental music is music purely and absolutely” (Hanslick 1986, cited under English Translations of Hanslick’s Writings, p. 15). Dahlhaus 1989 conceives of “absolute music” as one aesthetic paradigm, a reading that is strongly challenged in Pederson 2009 that argues for a more empirically based and historically grounded understanding of the term. Hinrichsen 1997 is concerned with distancing both Hanslick and Brahms from the notion of “absolute music.” Grey 1995 and Chua 1999 each provide a more nuanced interpretation of the term. Bonds 2012 outlines a metaphysical reading of Hanslick’s monograph that returns to the philosophical and scientific context in which it was written in 1854, particularly with reference to natural philosophy, thereby demonstrating that Hanslick simultaneously embraces the notion of “absolute music” and the metaphysical properties of music. Bonds 2014, on the concept of absolute music, brings a systematic approach to Hanslick’s relationship to the concept.

  • Bonds, Mark Evan. “Aesthetic Amputations: Absolute Music and the Deleted Endings of Hanslick’s Vom Musikalisch-Schönen.” 19th-Century Music 36.1 (Summer 2012): 3–23.

    DOI: 10.1525/ncm.2012.36.1.003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This compelling article connects Hanslick’s references to “motions of the universe” (p. 5) and “connections to nature” (p. 4) in his original ending to Vom Musikalisch-Schönen to the influence of Naturphilosophie—which posits a basic unity of all nature—through contextualization with the writings of Schelling, Goethe, Ritter, Ørsted, and the figures of Chladni.

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  • Bonds, Mark Evan. Absolute Music: The History of an Idea. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199343638.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book dealing with the concept of absolute music from Pythagoras to the early 21st century, chapter 9 (pp. 141–209) compellingly deals with the question of Hanslick’s changing relationship to the concept from five perspectives: (1) Hanslick’s “pure” music terminology, (2) Hanslick’s early aesthetic, (3) Hanslick the conventional, (4) Hanslick the radical, and (5) Hanslick the ambivalent.

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  • Chua, Daniel. Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511481697Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapter 29, “On the Beautiful and the Sublime” (pp. 228–234), provides a thought-provoking consideration of Hanslick’s aesthetics in relation to Kant’s notion of beauty and Wagner’s concept of “absolute music.” Sees Hanslick’s reverence for silent scores as reinforcing Adorno’s “total aestheticisation of art” (p. 228). Concludes that Hanslick’s and Wagner’s “absolute music” were fundamentally incompatible.

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  • Dahlhaus, Carl. The Idea of Absolute Music. Translated by Roger Lustig. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

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    Postulates that “absolute music” is an aesthetic paradigm and traces its history and vicissitudes. Explores the term in relation to the realms of feelings, metaphysics, art-religion, logic, and speech. Further pits “absolute music” against the concept of program music. English translation of Die Idee der absoluten Musik (Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1978).

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  • Grey, Thomas. Wagner’s Musical Prose: Texts and Contexts. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511470301Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Grey revisits the history of “absolute music,” and reminds us that Wagner coined the term. He contextualizes Hanslick’s writings accordingly.

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  • Hinrichsen, Hans-Joachim. “‘Auch das Schöne muß sterben’ oder Die Vermittlung von biographischer und ästhetischer Subjektivität im Musikalisch-Schönen: Brahms, Hanslick und Schillers Nänie.” In Johannes Brahms oder Die Relativierung der “absoluten” Musik. Edited by Hanns-Werner Heister, 121–154. Hamburg, Germany: von Bockel, 1997.

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    Exploring Brahms’s Op. 82, Hinrichsen seeks to recover Hanslick and Vom Musikalisch-Schönen from the formalist arena; the cause for this designation was a lack of clarity in Hanslick’s concept of “form imbued with meaning” and not a formalist agenda in the book itself. He does not consult Hanslick’s critical writings.

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  • Pederson, Sanna. “Defining the Term ‘Absolute Music’ Historically.” Music and Letters 90.2 (2009): 240–262.

    DOI: 10.1093/ml/gcp009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reinvestigates ground covered by Dahlhaus’s The Idea of Absolute Music and disputes the notion of a latent unity in music aesthetics in the concept of “absolute music”; demonstrates that Hanslick did not champion this term. Traces the etymology of the term with the concept in writings of Halm and Kurth.

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Formalism

Hanslick is frequently referred to as a formalist, principally because of one phrase in his monograph Vom Musikalisch-Schönen that is cited with the tenacity of a cliché: the beauty of music is to be found in “tonally moving forms” (tönend bewegte Formen). The final chapter of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen is concerned with “‘Content’ and ‘Form’ in Music” (pp. 77–83 in Hanslick 1986, cited under English Translations of Hanslick’s Writings). Dahlhaus 1967 is a seminal article that contextualizes Hanslick statements on form within the history of form, a German-language article that is useful for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Kivy 1988 and Hall 1967 each come to Hanslick’s defense against charges of being an arch-formalist, each pointing to Hanslick’s appreciation of music’s expressive capacity. Discussion of the dichotomy between content and form, as Boisits 2006 argues, is common to a number of thinkers on aesthetics at this time, including Hanslick and Ambros. Carpenter 1984 widens the focus to consider a continuum running from Kant to Hanslick to Schoenberg. Schneider 2010 gives detailed attention to a number of other contemporary thinkers concerned with this same subject. Goehr 2002 interrogates the notion of “musical autonomy” in relation to formalism and transcendentalism.

  • Boisits, Barbara. “‘Tönend bewegte Formen’ oder ‘seelischer Ausdruck’: Zu einer musikästhetischen Streitfrage im 19. Jahrhundert.” De musica disserenda 2.2 (2006): 43–52.

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    A comparison of Hanslick’s Vom Musikalisch-Schönen with August Wilhelm Ambros’s Die Grenzen der Musik und Poesie (Leipzig, Germany: Matthes, 1855). Argues that whereas Hanslick perceived the uniqueness of music in its radical autonomy, Ambros sought common ground with the other arts in order to make music participate in the ideas of its time.

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  • Carpenter, Patricia. “Musical Form and Musical Idea: Reflections on a Theme of Schoenberg, Hanslick, and Kant.” In Music and Civilization: Essays in Honor of Paul Henry Lang. Edited by Edmond Strainchamps and Maria Rika Maniates, 394–427. New York and London: Norton, 1984.

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    Excellent exploration of continuities between Kant, Hanslick, and Schoenberg that recognizes both Hanslick’s intellectual debt to German idealism and the expressive resonance of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. Warns against forcing this text into a formalist mold. Reminds us that, for Hanslick, music is form and is expressive of musical ideas.

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  • Dahlhaus, Carl. “Eduard Hanslick und der musikalische Formbegriff.” Musikforschung 20 (1967): 145–153.

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    A discussion of Hanslick’s complex statements on form in music in the broader context of an analysis of the history of form in the first half of the 19th century.

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  • Goehr, Lydia. The Quest for Voice: On Music, Politics, and the Limits of Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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    Chapter 3, subtitled “Resituating Musical Autonomy” (pp. 88–131), remains important for the issues it addresses and the questions it raises in relation to the dichotomy between “formalists” and “transcendentalists.” However, its methodological approach is limited by a restriction to Hanslick’s writings in English translation, and an accordingly narrow view of Hanslick’s critical output.

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  • Hall, Robert W. “On Hanslick’s Supposed Formalism in Music.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 25.4 (1967): 433–436.

    DOI: 10.2307/428392Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Written in 1967, this article is still relevant for its cogent exploration of Hanslick’s supposed formalism in the context of both Vom Musikalisch-Schönen and his critical writings. Argues that Hanslick adumbrates the ideas of Langer in Feeling and Form (New York: Scribner, 1953), and contextualizes Hanslick’s writings in relation to Weitz, Philosophy of the Arts (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1950).

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  • Kivy, Peter. “Something I’ve Always Wanted to Know about Hanslick.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 46.3 (Spring 1988): 413–417.

    DOI: 10.2307/431111Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Written in response to Payzant’s 1986 translation of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen (see Hanslick 1986, cited under English Translations of Hanslick’s Writings); explores the thorny issue of contradictions between the expressive capacity of vocal music and the texts it sets (in this instance, Gluck’s “Che farò senza Euridice!”). Challenges and claims to strengthen Payzant’s argument regarding Hanslick’s “negative thesis.”

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  • Schneider, Lothar L. “Form versus Gehalt: Konturen des intellektuellen Feldes im späten 19. Jahrhundert.” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 39–54. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    Argues that the opposition between form and content is philosophical (Herbartian and Hegelian), rather than polemical. Hanslick was a major player in these debates, in both the theoretical and critical fields. His contribution is explored primarily with reference to Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk, and to the writings of Zimmermann, Vischer, and Hostinský.

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Idealism, Metaphysics, and Expression

On the flip side of the formalist coin is the question of music’s expressive capacity, which, in Hanslick studies, is bound up with the concepts of idealism, metaphysics, and expression. Bonds 1997 remains relevant and fresh for its insights into Hanslick’s deleted endings to Vom Musikalisch-Schönen and their relationship to German idealism. Burford 2006 renegotiates the nexus between spirit and matter in addressing Hanslick’s “Idealist materialism.” Hall 1995 dispels many misconceptions regarding Hanslick’s attitude to music’s expressive capacity raised in Malcolm Budd’s “The Repudiation of Emotion: Hanslick on Music,” pp. 29–43 (British Journal of Aesthetics 20.1, 1980). Maus 1992, in a similar vein, responds to the received views of Joseph Kerman’s “How We Got into Analysis, and How to Get Out,” 311–331 (Critical Inquiry 7.2, 1980) and Edward T. Cone’s “Schubert’s Promissory Note,” pp. 233–241 (19th-Century Music 5, 1982). Scruton 1998 locates Hanslick’s treatment of the expressive capacity of music in the context of 19th-century aesthetic writings, the author’s findings appearing in a more accessible and readily available form for undergraduates in Scruton 2001. Zangwill 2001 also views Hanslick’s output in relation to 19th-century aesthetic theories of art and beauty. Zangwill 2004 clearly elucidates Hanslick’s negative thesis, that the purpose of music is not to express emotion.

  • Bonds, Mark Evan. “Idealism and the Aesthetics of Instrumental Music at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 50.2–3 (Summer–Autumn 1997): 387–420.

    DOI: 10.1525/jams.1997.50.2-3.03a00050Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A very influential article that explores the deleted endings of Hanslick’s Vom Musikalisch-Schönen in relation to idealism—an aesthetic principle applicable to all the arts (particularly absolute music) through which the realm of the spiritual and the infinite could be sensed. Contextualizes Hanslick in relation to musical thought c. 1800.

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  • Burford, Mark. “Hanslick’s Idealist Materialism.” 19th-Century Music 30.2 (2006): 166–181.

    DOI: 10.1525/ncm.2006.30.2.166Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Vom Musikalisch-Schönen is best understood not as an unequivocal case for formalism, but as evidence of the complex ways in which mid-century tensions between idealism and materialism informed German musical discourse. Demonstrates that Hanslick negotiated a middle ground between idealism and materialism.

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  • Hall, Robert W. “Hanslick and Musical Expressiveness.” Journal of Aesthetic Education 29.3 (Autumn 1995): 85–92.

    DOI: 10.2307/3333543Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This short but cogent article challenges the view that Hanslick is the arch-formalist of traditional musical criticism by taking a well-rounded approach to both his aesthetic and critical writings. Takes as its point of departure and opposition Malcolm Budd’s article “The Repudiation of Emotion: Hanslick on Music” (British Journal of Aesthetics 20 [1980]: 29–43).

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  • Maus, Fred Everett. “Hanslick’s Animism.” Journal of Musicology 10.3 (Summer 1992): 273–292.

    DOI: 10.1525/jm.1992.10.3.03a00010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A lucid and systematic challenge to the received view of Hanslick as adumbrating formalist music analysis by authors including Kerman (1980) and Cone (1982). Instead, emphasizes Hanslick’s theory of musical beauty, focusing on how he animates this theory through use of metaphor, references to embodiment, and descriptions of musical motion.

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  • Scruton, Roger. The Aesthetic Understanding: Essays in the Philosophy of Art and Culture. Sound Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s, 1998.

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    A collection of essays on the philosophy of art, the second section addresses music aesthetics, considering the opposition between form and content, and between formalism and expression. Extols Hanslick as the most competent writer in the field, despite admitting to a number of weaknesses in his arguments.

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  • Scruton, Roger. “Expression.” In The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Vol. 8. Edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell, 463–472. London: Macmillan, 2001.

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    A lucid synopsis of expression in music that contextualizes Hanslick’s writings on the theories of expression with those of his direct contemporaries Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Wagner. This is found in the first section of the article, “The History of the Concept of Expression (after 1800).”

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  • Zangwill, Nicholas. The Metaphysics of Beauty. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001.

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    A study of trends and major figures in recent aesthetic theory, this book champions a formalist conception of the value of art. Chapter 4 (pp. 55–81) gives extended consideration to Hanslick’s understanding of the role of the emotions in music and in an aesthetic theory of music.

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  • Zangwill, Nicholas. “Against Emotion: Hanslick was Right about Music.” British Journal of Aesthetics 44.1 (2004): 29–43.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjaesthetics/44.1.29Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Zangwill argues that Hanslick was correct to think that music should not be understood in terms of emotion. In particular, it is not essential to music to possess emotions, arouse emotions, express emotions, or represent emotions.

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Hanslick and Modes of Listening

One of the principal tenets of Hanslick’s monograph is its complex and multifaceted theory of listening. At its most basic, in chapter 5, Hanslick argues that musical perception may be categorized as either aesthetic—that is, where the listener engages intellectually with music—or pathological—that is, where a listener allows the effects of the music to wash over them like a warm bath. Listeners in the second category, as Hanslick sees it, have lost the aesthetic criterion of intellectual pleasure. Botstein 1985 considers Hanslick’s theory within the context of changing habits of listening in fin-de-siècle Vienna, brought about by a myriad of developments in musical life from piano building, to various forms of domestic music making, and the emergence of program notes and guides for listeners. Maus 2013 is an incisive study that grapples with the complexity of Hanslick’s theory of listening, and teases it out in relation to the comparison between a beautiful body and a beautiful musical work. Strauß 2010 revisits changing habits of listening from Hanslick to Benjamin, paying particular attention to the notion of structural listening.

  • Botstein, Leon. “Music and Its Public: Habits of Listening and the Crisis of Musical Modernism in Vienna, 1870–1914.” PhD diss., Harvard University, 1985.

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    Botstein examines the critical role that Hanslick’s reviews—in particular his “living history” of Viennese musical life—played in guiding generations of Viennese audiences for whom concerts were too expensive and for those who had diminished musical literacy through “prose translations of the musical experience” (p. 878).

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  • Maus, Fred Everett. “Hanslick’s Composers.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 38–51. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    A perceptive article addressing Hanslick’s complex theory on the art of listening by comparing Vom Musikalisch-Schönen with the critical writings, these examples including Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, and Brahms’s First Symphony. Argues for a fourfold relation between composer, music, Hanslick as listener, and reader of his essay.

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  • Strauß, Dietmar. “Vom Musikalisch-Langweiligen: Eduard Hanslick und der Ennui im 19. Jahrhundert.” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 11–20. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    A thought-provoking essay for those concerned with the notion of structural listening, this explores the changing modes of cognition and listening habits in the age of the Industrial Revolution. Traces continuities between the writings of Hanslick and Walter Benjamin, and addresses changing perceptions of the musical work and its performance.

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Hanslick’s Role as Critic

Since the 1990s Hanslick studies have shifted from a lasting preoccupation with Vom Musikalisch-Schönen, to a more focused consideration of the nature of Hanslick’s critical output. Herzog 1995 paved the way toward this shift with the author’s equal focus on the aesthetic and critical writings. One branch of this scholarship that has subsequently become particularly fruitful is concerned with Hanslick’s role as a critic, and the cultural context and the sociopolitical conditions that underpinned and influenced his critical judgments, as first explored in Yoshida 2001. Korstvedt 2011 interrogates the social meaning of music criticism, particularly in Viennese liberalism. Gooley 2011 further develops this field by considering Hanslick’s criticism to have the potential to effect political and social change.

  • Gooley, Dana. “Hanslick and the Institution of Criticism.” Journal of Musicology 28.3 (Summer 2011): 289–324.

    DOI: 10.1525/jm.2011.28.3.289Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A stimulating reassessment of Hanslick’s critical output as a medium with the potential to effect political and social change in liberal Vienna. Examines Hanslick’s criticisms as part of a historical emancipation of Vienna from its repressive Vormärz ethos. Focuses on Hanslick’s reviews of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, and dialogue with Billroth.

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  • Herzog, Patricia. “Music Criticism and Musical Meaning.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 53.3 (Summer 1995): 299–312.

    DOI: 10.2307/431355Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A thoughtful exploration of the philosophical quandary between Hanslick’s aesthetic and critical writings. Herzog draws a distinction between autonomy (evidenced in Hanslick’s aesthetics: Peter Kivy) and heteronomy (evidenced in Hanslick’s criticisms: Edward Cone, Joseph Kerman), aiming to expose the inadequacy of the former as a theory of musical meaning.

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  • Korstvedt, Benjamin M. “Reading Music Criticism beyond the Fin-de-siècle Vienna Paradigm.” Musical Quarterly 94.1–2 (2011): 156–210.

    DOI: 10.1093/musqtl/gdq018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A historiographical investigation examining not only critical resistance to Bruckner in relation to Austrian bourgeois society, but also how musical politics in late-19th-century Vienna have been constructed in English-language scholarship. This entails rethinking the social nature and meaning of Viennese music criticism, and Viennese liberalism.

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  • Yoshida, Hiroshi. “Eduard Hanslick and the Idea of ‘Public’ in Musical Culture: Towards a Socio-political Context of Formalistic Aesthetics.” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 32.2 (2001): 179–199.

    DOI: 10.2307/1562266Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    For a long time the point of reference regarding Hanslick, absolute music, and the public sphere, this oft-cited article was one of the first to give serious consideration to the sociopolitical conditions in which Vom Musikalisch-Schönen was written, with an interesting distinction between Hanslick pre- and post-1848 revolutions.

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Hanslick and the Austro-German Philosophical Tradition(s)

Hanslick was raised in a highly stimulating, intellectual environment, and read many of the philosophical tracts that lined the bookshelves in his home. His subjects at Prague University included religion and theoretical philosophy. He was well versed in pre- and post-Kantian philosophy, and in the philosophical outlook of more marginalized Bohemian figures such as Bolzano, Herbart, and Zimmermann. This philosophical grounding underpins his monograph on aesthetics. Sponheuer 1980 explores this aspect in relation to Schumann and Brendel. Sponheuer 1987 situates Hanslick on a continuum beginning with Kant, thereby elucidating many of the metaphysical overtones of his formalism. Landerer 2004a explores Hanslick’s intellectual environment in Prague and Vienna, and Landerer 2004b is the only work to give detailed consideration to the influence of Bolzano on Hanslick. Eger 2010 is an important chapter for clearly demonstrating the powerful influence Hanslick had on Nietzsche. Titus 2008 considers Hanslick’s relationship with Hegel in an age where the cult of Hegelianism was eroding the supremacy of Hegel’s Spirit and Idea. Rothfarb 2011 mediates between the philosophical paths of Hanslick’s aesthetic inquiry, discerning what the author calls Hanslick’s “empathetic formalism.”

  • Eger, Manfred. “Nietzsches Ausfälle mit Hanslicks Einfällen: Fakten und Fatalitäten um den ‘Fall Wagner.’” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 103–112. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    Explores the extent of Nietzsche’s influence on Wagner’s thinking, outlining numerous instances where the writings of the latter bear an uncanny resemblance to those of the former. The essay is to be greatly valued for its source material. There is little critical engagement, however.

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  • Landerer, Christoph. “Ästhetik von oben? Ästhetik von unten? Objektivität und ‘naturwissenschaftliche’ Methode in Eduard Hanslicks Musikästhetik.” Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 61.1 (2004a): 38–53.

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    Investigates Hanslick’s notion of the objectivity of music aesthetics in the context of his intellectual environment in Prague and Vienna. Pays particular attention to Zimmermann, Herbart, and Bolzano, focusing on the tension between metaphysics and empirical science. Contemplates Hanslick’s notion of the beautiful as an expression of objective, ideal characteristics.

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  • Landerer, Christoph. Eduard Hanslick und Bernard Bolzano: Ästhetisches Denken in Österreich in der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Sankt Augustin, Germany: Academia Verlag, 2004b.

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    Highlights the much-overlooked influence of Bolzano (with whom Hanslick became acquainted through Robert Zimmermann) on Vom Musikalisch-Schönen. Consequently calls into question the extent of Herbart’s influence on Hanslick’s thinking. Contains extensive exploration of both Bolzano’s philosophical treatises.

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  • Rothfarb, Lee. “Nineteenth-Century Fortunes of Musical Formalism.” Journal of Music Theory 55.2 (2011): 167–220.

    DOI: 10.1215/00222909-1540347Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This incisive study traces three 19th-century paths of aesthetic inquiry emanating from Kant’s Critique of Judgment: (1) Formalist, from Herbart to Zimmermann; (2) Empathist, from Herder’s rejection of Kant to Hegel, et al.; and (3) Hanslick’s “empathetic formalism,” embracing Kant’s focus on phenomenon and purposive form, and Hegel’s focus on art’s spirituality.

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  • Sponheuer, Bernd. “Zur ästhetischen Dichotomie als Denkform in der ersten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts: Eine historische Skizze am Beispiel Schumanns, Brendels, und Hanslicks.” Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 37.1 (1980): 1–31.

    DOI: 10.2307/930617Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Considers the aesthetic dichotomy between all areas of music: on the one hand, from production to reception, and the musical object itself; on the other—from the point of view of Schumann’s poetic criticism—Brendel’s historical-philosophical approach, and the immanent-aesthetic, but abstract one-sided treatment of the problem by Hanslick.

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  • Sponheuer, Bernd. Musik als Kunst und Nicht-Kunst: Untersuchungen zur Dichotomie von “hoher” und “niederer” Musik im musikästhetischen Denken zwischen Kant und Hanslick. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1987.

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    An exploration of aesthetic discourse on music from Kant’s Critique of Judgment (1790) to Hanslick’s Vom Musikalisch-Schönen (1854). Interrogates changing criteria for how music could be considered art. Concerned with music’s perceived autonomous and sensuous nature, and its spiritual content, elemental power, and ambivalent status as a beautiful art.

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  • Titus, Barbara. “The Quest for Spiritualized Form: (Re)Positioning Eduard Hanslick.” Acta Musicologica 80.1 (2008): 67–97.

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    Takes the view that the supremacy of Hegel’s Spirit and Idea was undermined and eroded from within by Hegel’s followers before and after 1848. Investigates Hanslick’s peculiar position between formalism and Hegelian idealism in Vom Musikalisch-Schönen, assessing how these post-Hegelian changes determined Hanslick’s theory of musical beauty.

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Hanslick and Literature

Hanslick was a voracious reader with a lively intellectual mind and wit. This is an aspect of his biography that has been given comparatively scant attention. Hanslick himself wrote at length about his literary world in his autobiography, which is highlighted and commented upon by Wapnewski in Hanslick 1987. Borchmeyer 2010 makes Grillparzer the focus of an exploration of Hanslick’s literary world. Schneider 2010 reminds us that Hanslick was no German cultural chauvinist, but had a deep appreciation of French literature and culture.

  • Borchmeyer, Dieter. “Hanslick und Grillparzer—‘oder über die Grenzen der Musik und Poesie.’” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 113–122. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    A rich and stimulating study exploring the key relationship between Hanslick and Grillparzer. Finds continuity between the philosophical thinking of both on the differences between music and poetry and their rejection of the literary ambitions of modern German opera. Notes that Hanslick never addressed their divergence on the capacity of music to arouse feelings.

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  • Hanslick, Eduard. “Grillparzer und die Musik.” In Aus meinem Leben. Edited by Peter Wapnewski, 409–432. Kassel, Germany, and Basel, Switerland: Bärenreiter, 1987.

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    This appendix, originally published by Hanslick in Musikalische Stationen, provides a detailed overview of his literary world that far exceeds his great admiration for Grillparzer and discusses many of the great German authors.

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  • Schneider, Herbert. “Hanslick rezensiert französisches Musiktheater: ‘Ohne Verständniß—kein Genuß.’” Paper presented at the Hanslick Symposium held in Vienna, 9–10 October 2004. In Eduard Hanslick zum Gedenken: Bericht des Symposiums zum Anlass seines 100. Todestages. Edited by Theophil Antonicek, Gernot Gruber, and Christoph Landerer, 259–295. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2010.

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    Ostensibly a study of Hanslick’s reviews of French music theater, the subtitle of this essay, “Without Understanding—No Taste” speaks to Hanslick’s formidable knowledge of French literature and French operatic and intellectual history, instilled in him in his childhood by his mother. Schneider convincingly argues that this knowledge informed Hanslick’s critical response to French opera and operetta.

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Hanslick as Autobiographer

If there is a hierarchy to the manner in which the three branches of Hanslick’s output have been treated in scholarship, Vom Musikalisch-Schönen is at the top, followed by the critical writings, and, given least attention, the autobiography Aus meinem Leben of 1904. A number of scholars have attempted to redress this imbalance, mining this rich, multifaceted book for more than its personalized impressions of individual composers. Wapnewski 1987 provides a text-critical edition of Hanslick’s Aus meinem Leben that includes incisive commentary and useful observations in the numerous essays that accompany Hanslick’s text. This volume also includes an index, which is lacking in Hanslick’s original. Freede 2013 explores Hanslick’s Aus meinem Leben within the genre of musical autobiographies in the 19th century, the study having strong theoretical underpinnings and a wide intellectual frame of reference.

  • Freede, Lauren. “The Critic as Subject: Hanslick’s Aus meinem Leben as a Reflection on Culture and Identity.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 187–211. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    This chapter goes beyond the usual reading of Hanslick’s autobiography, as a catalogue of impressions of individual composers, to reassess how Aus meinem Leben contributes to a wider dialogue about the centrality of music to Austro-German society, national identity, and culture.

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  • Wapnewski, Peter. “Eduard Hanslick als Darsteller seiner selbst: Der Kritiker und die Nachwelt.” In Aus meinem Leben. By Eduard Hanslick and edited by Peter Wapnewski, 487–515. Kassel, Germany, and Basel, Switzerland: Bärenreiter, 1987.

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    An overview of Hanslick’s output that attempts to distance the critic from ubiquitous associations with Wagner. Instead highlights the scholarly and critical value of his musical writings, and the importance of his autobiography as a state of consciousness and barometer of taste of bourgeois society at a particular historical point.

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The Role of Gender in Hanslick’s Criticism

Hanslick and gender studies is a burgeoning area of scholarship that is concerned not only with the gender designations that underpin Hanslick’s writings, but also with the manner in which such designations continue to inform our reading of Hanslick. Maus 1992 was the first work to broach this field with a focus on Hanslick’s comparison between a beautiful (preferably male) body and beautiful music. Citron 2009 considers Hanslick as just one of a number of critics whose output is informed by gender. Gerards 2013 considers Hanslick’s writings in the context of debates on the emancipation of women in Vienna in the second half of the 19th century. Noeske 2013 uses the organism metaphor as a powerful way to interrogate the extent to which Hanslick’s writings are informed by gender.

  • Citron, Marcia J. “Gendered Reception of Brahms: Masculinity, Nationalism and Musical Politics.” In Masculinity and Western Musical Practice. Edited by Ian Biddle and Kirsten Gibson, 141–160. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

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    An important contribution to a growing body of literature on masculinity and music that explores both Brahms’s creative process and Hanslick’s critical apparatus. Uncovers the extent to which gender ideologies inform both, against the backdrop of Brahms’s German national identity.

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  • Gerards, Marion. “‘Faust und Hamlet in einer Person’: The Musical Writings of Eduard Hanslick as Part of the Gender Discourse in the Late Nineteenth Century.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 212–235. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    Gerards considers Hanslick’s aesthetic and critical output within the context of the movement for women’s emancipation in Vienna in the latter part of the 19th century. She interrogates the degree to which gender qualities informed Hanslick’s writings and continue to inform our interpretation of his critical outlook.

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  • Maus, Fred Everett. “Hanslick’s Animism.” Journal of Musicology 10.3 (Summer 1992): 273–292.

    DOI: 10.1525/jm.1992.10.3.03a00010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The final section of this article draws attention to the importance of masculinity to musical thought, with reference to chapter 6 of Vom Musikalisch-Schönen, “The Relation of Music to Nature.”

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  • Noeske, Nina. “Body and Soul, Content and Form: On Hanslick’s Use of the Organism Metaphor.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 236–258. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    This study analyzes the pervasive use of gender designations in Hanslick’s aesthetic and critical output in relation to the organism metaphor, thereby addressing the broader question of the metaphorical connections between the “healthy” and “unhealthy” organism in writings on music.

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The Emergence of Musicology as a Discipline

Musicology emerged as discipline in Vienna at the end of the 19th century. The three major players in this development were Guido Adler, Heinrich Schenker, and Hanslick. The main focus of Cook 2007 is ostensibly on Schenker, but the author nonetheless gives detailed consideration to Hanslick. Karnes 2008 takes a rich and multifaceted approach to Hanslick in the context of this broader intellectual development, documenting how the various stages and guises of Hanslick’s career led to his involvement in the emergence of the discipline of musicology.

  • Cook, Nicholas. The Schenker Project: Culture, Race, and Music Theory in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195170566.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This pioneering study gives significant attention to Hanslick’s role in the formative stages of the discipline of musicology, exploring continuities between Hanslick and Schenker, and the nature of formalism in Hanslick’s writings. A formidable repost to those who claim for Hanslick that music does not, cannot, or should not convey emotions.

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  • Karnes, Kevin. Music Criticism in Vienna: Shaping Modern Musical Thought in Late-Nineteenth Century Vienna. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    A lucid, thoughtful, and compelling study of the philosophical underpinnings of the emergence of musicology as a discipline in fin-de-siècle Vienna, and a probing exploration of Hanslick’s role therein. Views Hanslick simultaneously as historiographer, critic, intellectual, and writer on music aesthetics in the context of his contemporaries, Adler and Schenker.

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Judaism and Anti-Semitism

The question of Hanslick’s Jewishness was first publicly raised by Wagner in his 1869 republication of the text Das Judenthum in der Musik (Jewishness in Music). From that point forward, Hanslick readers and scholars have been preoccupied with this issue. Ludvová 2010 (cited under Hanslick’s Prague) provides detailed documentary evidence regarding Hanslick’s youth in Prague in relation to his religious background. Ostensibly concerned with Jewishness, Gay 1979 includes a chapter on Hanslick and yet avoids the question of whether Hanslick was Jewish. Grimes 2012 argues that Hanslick’s defense of certain works by Mendelssohn provided a public platform for the critic’s hidden Jewish heritage. Grey 2008 tackles the issue head-on from the perspective of Wagner’s anti-Jewish outpourings. Kasunic 2013 turns to the question of shared heritage—Bohemian and Jewish—in an exploration of Hanslick’s reception of Mahler.

  • Gay, Peter. Freud, Jews, and Other Germans: Masters and Victims in Modernist Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.

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    An excellent introduction to all aspects of Hanslick’s career—critical and aesthetic writings—and power and role as a critic in Vienna. Focuses mainly on Hanslick’s objections to Wagner. For a chapter dealing with Beckmesser, it is notable for not mentioning Hanslick’s Judaism. For more on this, see Kasunic 2013.

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  • Grey, Thomas. “The Jewish Question.” In The Cambridge Companion to Wagner. Edited by Thomas Grey, 203–218. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL9780521642996.013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Addresses the “inconvenient truth” that Hanslick was just one of several targets in Wagner’s anti-Jewish invective as found in his diaries, personal correspondence, prose writings, and the operas themselves.

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  • Grimes, Nicole. “‘Wordless Judaism, Like the Songs of Mendelssohn’? Hanslick, Mendelssohn and Cultural Politics in Late Nineteenth-Century Vienna.” In Mendelssohn Perspectives. Edited by Nicole Grimes and Angela R. Mace, 49–62. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2012.

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    Critically compares Hanslick’s reviews of Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht and Brahms’s Rinaldo. Notes that more attention is given to Goethe’s poetic texts than to music. Argues that Hanslick’s defense of the pagans (read Jews) in Mendelssohn’s Op. 60 provided a public platform on which to defend his own Jewish heritage.

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  • Kasunic, David. “On ‘Jewishness’ and Genre: Hanslick’s Reception of Gustav Mahler.” In Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Form, and Expression. Edited by Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx, 311–338. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013.

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    This essay analyzes Hanslick’s critical writings on Mahler’s earliest works, including his orchestral songs and first symphony. Argues that Hanslick set out a distinctly non-Wagnerian aesthetic space for Hanslick, with reference to their shared heritage—both Jewish and Bohemian—at a time when Vienna experienced a surge in anti-Semitism around 1900.

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