"The Danger of Music" gathers some two decades of Richard Taruskin's writing on the arts and politics, ranging in approach from occasional pieces for major newspapers such as "The New York Times" to full-scale critical essays for leading intellectual journals. Hard-hitting, provocative, and incisive, these essays consider contemporary composition and performance, the role of critics and historians in the life of the arts, and the fraught terrain where ethics and aesthetics interact and at times conflict. Many of the works collected here have themselves excited wide debate, including the title essay, which considers the rights and obligations of artists in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a series of lively postscripts written especially for this volume, Taruskin, America's 'public' musicologist, addresses the debates he has stirred up by insisting that art is not a utopian escape and that artists inhabit the same world as the rest of society. Among the book's forty-two essays are two public addresses - one about the prospects for classical music at the end of the second millennium C. E., the other a revisiting of the performance issues previously discussed in the author's "Text and Act (1995)" - that appear in print for the first time.
Richard Taruskin is Class of 1955 Chair of Music at the University of California, Berkeley and is the author of Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions (UC Press), among many other books.
Preface: Against Utopia 1. Et in Arcadia Ego; or, I Didn't Know I Was Such a Pessimist until I Wrote This Thing (a talk) From the New York Times, mostly 2. Only Time Will Cover the Taint 3. "Nationalism": Colonialism in Disguise? 4. Why Do They All Hate Horowitz? 5. Optimism amid the Rubble 6. A Survivor from the Teutonic Train Wreck 7. Does Nature Call the Tune? 8. Two Stabs at the Universe 9. In Search of the "Good" Hindemith Legacy 10. Six Times Six: A Bach Suite Selection 11. A Beethoven Season? 12. Dispelling the Contagious Wagnerian Mist 13. How Talented Composers Become Useless 14. Making a Stand against Sterility 15. A Sturdy Musical Bridge to the Twenty-first Century 16. Calling All Pundits: No More Predictions! 17. In The Rake's Progress, Love Conquers (Almost) All 18. Markevitch as Icarus 19. Let's Rescue Poor Schumann from His Rescuers 20. Early Music: Truly Old-Fashioned at Last? 21. Bartok and Stravinsky: Odd Couple Reunited? 22. Wagner's Antichrist Crashes a Pagan Party 23. A Surrealist Composer Comes to the Rescue of Modernism 24. Corraling a Herd of Musical Mavericks 25. Can We Give Poor Orff a Pass at Last? 26. The Danger of Music and the Case for Control 27. Ezra Pound: A Slim Sound Claim to Musical Immortality 28. Underneath the Dissonance Beat a Brahmsian Heart 29. Enter Boris Goudenow, Just 295 Years Late For the New Republic, mostly 30. The First Modernist 31. The Dark Side of the Moon 32. Of Kings and Divas 33. The Golden Age of Kitsch 34. No Ear for Music: The Scary Purity of John Cage 35. Sacred Entertainments 36. The Poietic Fallacy 37. The Musical Mystique: Defending Classical Music against Its Devotees From the scholarly press 38. Revising Revision 39. Back to Whom? Neoclassicism as Ideology 40. She Do the Ring in Different Voices 41. Stravinsky and Us Envoi 42. Setting Limits (a talk) Index