Werktreue: Confirmation and Challenge in Contemporary Movements

Lydia Goehr

in The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works

Published in print October 1994 | ISBN: 9780198235415
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597503 | DOI:
Werktreue: Confirmation and Challenge in Contemporary Movements

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Investigates the force of the Werktreue ideal in various parts of musical practice––in the practices of jazz and the avant‐garde, and in early performance practice; it offers a reading specifically of John Cage's 4’ 33’. It looks too at the use of the Werktreue ideal as shown in the rise of the conductor. If further investigates the ideal of Werktreue in relation now to the historical or authentic performance movement. It returns critically to the analysts’ use of the counter example method. It looks at the possibility of distinguishing original from derivative uses of the work concept as a development of the idea of the open concept. It looks at what it means to speak of conceptual challenge, conceptual change, neutralization, and the generic use of concepts; it looks also at the idea of conceptual imperialism. Though the argument of the book as a whole follows a strong conceptual argument all the way through, it is dependent also on the so‐called 1800 thesis, namely that this was the time of the emergence or culmination of the concept of a musical work as a regulative concept of musical practice.

Keywords: John Cage; conceptual challenge; conceptual change; conceptual imperialism; historical performance; neutralization; werktreue

Chapter.  18872 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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