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[To borrow a well-known phrase from philosopher Hannah Arendt, we are presently being confronted—in the second decade of the new millennium—with a world-historical moment that can be aptly described as “dark times.” 1 It is a period marked by a striking dialectical progression that is unfolding...
[As the symphonies of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were resounding throughout the late eighteenth-century concert halls of Berlin, Dresden, and Jena, a 25-year-old Friedrich Schlegel was scribbling fragments in his literary notebooks about music with “sublime audacity” (KA, 24: 31).1...
[In a letter to his friend and intellectual collaborator Theodor W. Adorno, on December 25, 1935, from Paris, Walter Benjamin describes music as a field of inquiry “fairly remote” from his own.1 Several years later, in another letter to Max Horkheimer, he writes that the “state of musical...
[At the height of his intellectual powers as one of West Germany’s most famous philosophers, Theodor W. Adorno fondly recalls his family’s summer home in northwestern Bavaria in the autobiographical essay, “Amorbach” (1966). As a young man, he remembers playing an old guitar with missing strings...
[On June 1, 1980, singer Blixa Bargeld and percussionist N. U. Unruh of the avant-garde band Einstürzende Neubauten (“Collapsing New Buildings”) performed a now-legendary atonal composition in West Berlin’s southwestern district of Friedenau-Schöneberg. Kneeling and bending over inside the...
[By mapping out the persistence of a critical-deconstructive approach toward musical production, consumption, and reception in the German cultural sphere, this modest intellectual-historical project has explored the theoretical and practical contours of music, sound, and noise as a site of...
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