The musical writings of the German philosopher and theorist Ernst Bloch are extraordinarily rich, but also unusually dense, at times even cryptic. Bloch, a profoundly heterodox thinker, brilliantly wove cultural criticism into a larger project of what he termed 'revolutionary gnosis'. Listening for Utopia is both an explication of Bloch's musical thought and a critical development of it. Ultimately, the book seeks to reanimate Bloch's philosophy of music in ways that connect with current musicology. The work begins with a detailed study of concepts crucial to Bloch's aesthetics that situates them within both his philosophical system and German critical theory of the early twentieth century. The second half of the book comprises a series of essays that take up key ideas from Bloch, decipher them through contextual and close reading, and develop them through critical application to salient musical masterpieces by Wagner, Mozart, Bruckner and Brahms.
Benjamin M. Korstvedt is the George N. and Selma U. Jeppson Professor of Music at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts and a former Senior Fellow at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna. He is the author of Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in the Cambridge Music Handbooks series, and has published articles on Bruckner's symphonies, music criticism in fin-de-siecle Vienna, and Bruckner scholarship in the Third Reich. He is the editor of the first modern edition of the 1888 version of Bruckner's Fourth Symphony, which is published as part of the Bruckner Collected Works edition (Vienna, 2004) and has been widely performed and recorded.
Preface; Introduction; 1. Bloch's Teppich: an initial approach; 2. On the genealogy of the Teppich: metaphor before Bloch; 3. The conceptual constellation of Bloch's musical philosophy; 4. Entering Bloch's musical system; 5. Wagner's animal lyricism; 6. Bloch's vision of the armored men, or the limits of enlightenment; 7. The achievement of symphonic authenticity; 8. Epilogue: an atheism of presence and absence; Bibliography.