SMA TAGS 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Katie Cattell - Speaker

Schubert and Different Notions of the Fragmentary in Schubert’s Impromptu in C minor, D. 899 (op. 90): Adorno and the German Romantics

Schubert and Different Notions of the Fragmentary in Schubert’s Impromptu in C minor, D. 899 (op. 90): Adorno and the German Romantics

Adorno’s 1928 essay on Schubert has been heralded as occupying a unique place within Schubert criticism, due to the essay’s literary style and the fundamental musicological assumptions about Schubert’s music that it challenges. The essay has provoked a variety of responses, including several English-language translations. Most of the critical engagement with this text, however, focuses on the themes of memory, landscape, and repetition in Schubert’s music. Although central to Adorno’s argument, these are by no means the only ideas that he addresses in relation to the music. This paper is going to look at an altogether different aspect of Adorno’s argument: the fragmentary nature of Schubert’s music and this will be done in relation to Schubert’s first Impromptu in C minor, D. 899 (op. 90).

The word ‘fragment’ is not unproblematic and it can be understood in more than one way. There appears to be a contradiction between the way in which Adorno understands the term, which works in relation to Schubert’s music at a thematic or motivic level, and the German Romantics’ use of the term, which can equally be applied to Schubert’s music. One can posit, for example, that this particular work as a whole is a fragment, as understood by the Romantics. This paper will therefore use this work to examine this contradiction and the different ways in which this Impromptu might be considered ‘fragmentary’, both from the perspective of the piece as a whole and at a motivic and thematic level.
3 May 2014

SMA TAGS 2014

Duration2 May 20143 May 2014
Location of eventRoyal Holloway, University of London
CountryUnited Kingdom

Event: Conference

ID: 30731802