Concepts of Time in Post-War European Music gives a historical and philosophical account of the discussions of the nature of time and music during the mid-twentieth century.
The nature of time was a persistent topic among composers in Paris and Darmstadt in the decades after World War II, one which influenced their musical practice and historical relevance. Based on the author’s specialized knowledge of the relevant philosophical discourses, this volume offers a balanced critique of these composers' attempts at philosophizing about time. Touching on familiar topics such as Adorno’s philosophy of music, the writings of Boulez and Stockhausen, and Messiaen’s theology, this volume uncovers specific relationships among varied intellectual traditions that have not previously been described.
Each chapter provides a philosophical explanation of specific problems that are relevant for interpreting the composer’s own essays or lectures, followed by a musical analysis of a piece of music which illustrates central theoretical concepts.
This is a valuable study for scholars and researchers of music theory, music history, and the philosophy of music.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Analysis: Anton Webern, Concerto Op. 24, m. 38–40 3. Duration and eternity: Messiaen’s time categories 4. Analysis: Olivier Messiaen, ‘Ile de Feu I’ from Quatre Études de rythme 5. Continuity: Boulez’s smooth time and its mathematical negotiations 6. Analysis: Pierre Boulez, Improvisations sur Mallarmé II—‘Une dentelle s’abolit’ 7. The unity of time: Stockhausen’s engagement with acoustics 8. Analysis: Karlheinz Stockhausen, Zeitmaße 9. Trauma: Goeyvaerts and Adorno on musical stasis 10. Analysis: Karel Goeyvaerts, Sonata for two pianos, movements II–III 11. Spacetime: Xenakis and the end of the discourse on musical time 12. Analysis: Iannis Xenakis, Nomos Alpha
Aaron Hayes is an independent scholar who teaches music in Northern Idaho. He completed his PhD in music at Stony Brook University in New York, 2016.