Chapter

<i>Die Zauberflöte</i>, or the Self-Assertion of the Moderns

Karol Berger

in Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780520250918
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933699 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520250918.003.0010
Die Zauberflöte, or the Self-Assertion of the Moderns

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This chapter discusses The Magic Flute, a work that probes modernity's democratic, communitarian aspirations. The subject of The Magic Flute is the revolution in values that occurred when the old regime, in which power was in the hands of the old, was replaced by a new order, in which the young were able to make their own autonomous choices. It is about the passing of mercy and the arrival of autonomy, and is also the work in which modern instrumental music acquires its own foundation myth. The abstract, autonomous subject of modern politics, no longer a mere “prince” but a universal “man,” finds his own medium in the new, abstract, autonomous art. Beethoven later took up the fundamental structure of this myth in a number of works, Fidelio and the Ninth Symphony among them.

Keywords: Magic Flute; autonomy; modern instrumental music; modern politics; Ninth Symphony; Beethoven

Chapter.  5224 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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