SMI Plenary Conference 2016

  • Katie Cattell (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Wandering through the Snow: Adorno and Heidegger as a Response to Schubert's Winterreise, D.911

Wandering is one way in which Schubert’s formal and harmonic processes in both his vocal and instrumental music is discussed and this can be seen in the work of commentators including Adorno, Dunsby, Fisk, Kinderman, Perry, and Youens. Much has been made of the wandering nature of Schubert’s music, drawing attention to the connection between repetition and his approach to form and harmony. Wandering has, however, less widely been considered a philosophical issue in Schubert’s music. This paper will engage with wandering at this philosophical level, starting with the work of Theodor W. Adorno and moving onto that of Martin Heidegger.

This will be done with reference to one of Schubert’s most iconic works: Winterreise, D.911. Wandering is omnipresent in this cycle - in the narrative, poetry, and music. This paper will examine the relationship between tonic major and minor in this cycle, interpreting it as part of Schubert’s wandering processes. Starting with Adorno’s interpretation of Schubert’s tonal vagrancy, the paper will suggest that Heidegger’s understanding of wandering (shown in his writings on poetry) could help expand the lexicon used to discuss this vital concept for Schubert scholarship, linking it to broader philosophical ideas as well as the musical specificities of Schubert’s song cycle. By bringing this philosophy into dialogue with Winterreise, it will become possible to use the music and philosophy to interrogate each other, meaning both can be understood in new ways.
Period10 Jun 2016
Event typeConference
LocationDublin, United KingdomShow on map