This selection of sixteen of Nicholas Cook's essays covers the period from 1987 to 2004 and brings out the development of the author's ideas over these years. In particular the two keywords of the title -Meaning and Performance- represent critical directions that expand to the point that, by the end of the book, they become coextensive: music is seen as social action and meaning as created by that action. Within this overall direction, a wide variety of topics is explored, ranging from Beethoven to Schenker, from Chinese qin music to jazz and rock, from perceptual psychology to sketch studies and analysis of record sleeves. A substantial introduction draws out the links (and differences) between the essays, sometimes critiquing them and always setting them into the developing context of the author's work as a whole.
Contents: Introduction; Published writings; Musical form and the listener; The perception of large-scale tonal closure; Beethoven's unfinished piano concerto: a case of double vision?; Schenker's theory of music as ethics; The editor and the virtuoso, or Schenker vs. BÃ¼low; Heinrich Schenker, polemicist: a reading of the 9th symphony monograph; Music minus 1: rock, theory and performance; The domestic gesamtkunstwerk, or record sleeves and reception; At the borders of musical identity: Schenker, Corelli and the Graces; Theorizing musical meaning; Form and syntax: a tale of 2 terms; The other Beethoven: heroism, the canon and the works of 1813-14; Performance writ large: desultory remarks on furnishing the abode of the retired scholar; In praise of symbolic poverty; Writing on music or axes to grind: road rage and musical community; Making music together, or improvisation and its others; Index.
The titles in this series bring together a selection of previously published and some unpublished essays by leading authorities in the field of critical musicology. The essays are chosen from a wide range of publications and so make key works available in a more accessible form. The authors have all made a selection of their own work in one volume with an introduction which discusses the essays chosen and puts them into context. A full bibliography points the reader to other publications which might not be included in the volume for reasons of space. The previously published essays are published using the facsimile method of reproduction to retain their original pagination, so that students and scholars can easily reference the essays in their original form.