Rethinking Schubert

Oxford University Press, 2016, pbk 2017
Co-Editor (with Julian Horton)

In Rethinking Schubert today’s leading Schubertians offer fresh perspectives on the composer’s importance and our perennial fascination with him. Subjecting recurring ideas in historical, biographical and analytical research to renewed scrutiny, the twenty-two chapters yield new insights into Schubert, his music, his influence and legacy, and broaden the interpretative context for the music of his final years. Paying close attention to matters of style, harmonic and formal analysis, and text setting, the essays gathered here explore a significant portion of the composer’s extensive output across a range of genres. Empowered by the new momentum behind the theories of nineteenth-century harmony and form, and recently-published source materials, the sophisticated approaches to the instrumental music in Rethinking Schubert show with particular clarity that it is no longer acceptable to posit Schubert’s music as a flawed lyric alternative to Beethoven.

What this volume provides is not only a fresh portrait of one of the most loved composers of the nineteenth century but also a conspectus of current Schubertian research. Whether perusing unknown repertoire or refreshing canonical works, Rethinking Schubert reveals the extraordinary methodological variety that is now available to research, painting a contemporary portrait of Schubert that is vibrant, plural, trans-national and complex.

“Deeply thoughtful and hugely challenging, insightful and inciteful, these essays throw brilliant prismatic light on Schubert’s indispensable oeuvre. They untangle the thorny paradox of an individual style that furnished some pivot for a crucial juncture in music history.”

Scott Messing, author of Schubert in the European Imagination and Marching to the Canon: The Life of Schubert’s Marche militaire

“This stirringly diverse collection of essays brings the recent surge of Schubert scholarship to its first full flood. With an international and intergenerational abundance of perspective, Rethinking Schubert encourages the sense that we are just now beginning to discern the impact and range of this miraculously, multidimensional composer.”

Scott Burnham, CUNY Graduate Center, Author of Beethoven Hero, Mozart’s Grace, 

“Inspired by the music of Schubert and the man himself, the contexts and riddling controversies promised in the title of this rich collection are engaged here in a range of brilliant rethinkings, from a brace of fresh theoretical constructs to the seasoned insights of time-honored Schubertians. A signal contribution among the busy competition.”

Richard Kramer, Author of Unfinished Music, Distant Cycles: Schubert and the Conceiving of Song and From the Ruins of Enlightenment: Beethoven and Schubert

“This book of essays joins other significant recent books on the late music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828). Like Schubert’s Late Music: History, Theory, Style, also ed. by Bodley and Horton (2016), the present volume had its origins in a 2011 academic conference, ‘Thanatos as Muse? Schubert and Concepts of Late Style’, and it includes in-depth analyses, by distinguished Schubert scholars, of works across a remarkably broad spectrum of Schubert’s repertoire. The essays are organized in three groups: ‘Style’, ‘Instrumental Music’, and ‘Music and Text’. A particularly notable contributor is renowned German scholar Walther Dürr, to whom the volume is dedicated, who was General Editor of the New Schubert Edition (Neue Schubert-Ausgabe, 1965–2018), the definitive scholarly critical edition of all of Schubert’s works. The collection concludes with a comprehensive bibliography. This is a very important addition to Schubert scholarship.”

D. Arnold, University of North Texas


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