The Musical Impotence of Hans Pfitzner’s <i>Die neue Ästhetik</i>

Bryan R. Simms

in Pro Mundo - Pro Domo

Published in print March 2014 | ISBN: 9780199764068
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190268213 | DOI:
The Musical Impotence of Hans Pfitzner’s Die neue Ästhetik

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This chapter presents a translation of Berg's essay which focuses on Pfitzner's book Die neue Aesthetik der musikalischen Impotenz: Ein Verwesungssymptom? (The New Aesthetic of Musical Impotence: A Symptom of Decay?). Berg objected to Pfitzner's blanket condemnation of modern music. He argued that if structural ingenuity, richness, and going against the norm promote a sense of beauty in Schumann's melody, then these features can also suggest the presence of beauty in modern music, making such works potent rather than impotent.

Keywords: Alban Berg; Hans Pfitzner; modern music; Schumann

Chapter.  4139 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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