Reconstructions of Death and Leave-taking in Music

Barbara Barry

March 15, 2013

297 pp.

3 illustrations

SKU: 9378-1-20-1-16-1-10-2-16-14-3-1-12-6-11-1-1-1-6-1 Categories: ,


Confrontation; victim; journey пїЅ these are the three perspectives that form the basis of the book пїЅLebewohlпїЅ. Its sections пїЅ farewell, absence and return пїЅ follow the titles of the movements of BeethovenпїЅs пїЅLebewohlпїЅ piano sonata, and project stances of death and models of mortality in music. As narrative reconstructions, the chapters examine how musical techniques are inflected by the theme, or subtext, of mortality, and through those reconstructions trace the dynamics of desire and trajectories of loss. The book presents these three sets of perspectives about death and mortality in music as case studies in the technique of structural poetics: how instrumental compositional techniques are inflected by the poetic subtext of mortality; and conversely, how operatic writing about conflict and death, underpinned by literary or dramatic substructures, projects existential predicaments that are mirrors of human experience. In the bookпїЅs final chapter of return, these explorations are seen as Faust narratives пїЅ as EverymanпїЅs search for meaning in the multiple worlds of space-time, real time and musical time. At a time when contemporary societyпїЅs glamorous images are largely, if not entirely in denial about death, пїЅLebewohlпїЅ reconfirms our humanity through powerful and persuasive musical representations of death and leave-taking; and in coming to terms with our own mortality, enriches the journey through the transformative power of music.


Barbara Barry:


Professor of Musicology at the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University. She has five degrees in music пїЅ two in piano performance from Trinity College of Music, London, and three in music history and theory from the University of London, including PhD awarded пїЅmagna cum laudeпїЅ. Prior coming to the United States, Barbara Barry was on the music faculty of the Music Department at University of London GoldsmithsпїЅ College and Chair of Music History at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of EuropeпїЅs foremost conservatories in the Barbican Arts Center in London. She has been Chair of Music History at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA, and taught at Clark University, New England Conservatory of Music, the Radcliffe Seminars and at Harvard University. A trained pianist in the Leschetizky tradition, Barbara Barry is the author of five books, as well as many articles on music history. She has been awarded two Fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fran Steinberg Memorial Prize for outstanding non-fiction, and was the first recipient of the Kathleen Cheek-Milby Endowed Faculty Fellowship at Lynn University. She is also a noted writer of young peopleпїЅs fantasy fiction with the books The Firestone and MephistoпїЅs Revenge.