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About Lawrence Kramer
Lawrence Kramer grew up in Philadelphia and New York and became deeply attached to classic literature and classical music at an early age. Now Distinguished Professor of English and Music at Fordham University, he divides the majority of his work time between writing music and writing about it. Most of the books featured on this page aim to connect classical music to culture, history, literature, and philosophy with losing touch with its unique character as music. Kramer's musical compositions, which have won prizes and been performed internationally, are written in the same spirit. Kramer's work has been translated into ten languages and has been the subject of conferences and session meetings of scholarly societies in the Americas, Europe, and China. More about both the person and the work can be found in a 2015 profile in the online music magazine Final Note (http://www.finalnotemagazine.com/the-man-behind-the-musicology-lawrence-kramer/). His website is musicbylawrencekramer.com.
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The resulting changes in the conceptions of both life and music had wide cultural resonance at the time, and those concepts continued to evolve long after. A critical part of that evolution was a nineteenth-century shift in focus from moving androids to the projection of life in motion, culminating in the invention of cinema. Weaving together cultural and musical practices, Lawrence Kramer traces these developments through a collection of case studies ranging from classical symphonies to modernist projections of waltzing specters by Mahler and Ravel to a novel linking Bach's Goldberg Variations to the genetic code.
The publisher gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the AMS 75 PAYS Fund of the American Musicological Society, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The publisher gratefully acknowledges the Joseph Kerman Endowment of the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
But Drum-Taps as readers know it from Leaves of Grass is different from the work of 1865. Whitman cut and reorganized the book, reducing its breadth of feeling and raw immediacy. This edition, the first to present the book in its original form since its initial publication 150 years ago, is a revelation, allowing one of Whitman’s greatest achievements to appear again in all its troubling glory.
"Recent years have seen the return of the claim that music’s power resides in its ineffability. In Expression and Truth, Lawrence Kramer presents his most elaborate response to this claim. Drawing on philosophers such as Wittgenstein and on close analyses of nineteenth-century compositions, Kramer demonstrates how music operates as a medium for articulating cultural meanings and that music matters too profoundly to be cordoned off from the kinds of critical readings typically brought to the other arts. A tour-de-force by one of musicology’s most influential thinkers."—Susan McClary, Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music.
Musical understanding has evolved dramatically in recent years, principally through a heightened appreciation of musical meaning in its social, cultural, and philosophical dimensions. This collection of essays by leading scholars addresses an aspect of meaning that has not yet received its due: the relation of meaning in this broad humanistic sense to the shaping of fundamental values. The volume examines the open and active circle between the values and valuations placed on music by both individuals and societies, and the discovery, through music, of what and how to value.
With a combination of cultural criticism and close readings of musical works, the contributors demonstrate repeatedly that to make music is also to make value, in every sense. They give particular attention to values that have historically enabled music to assume a formative role in human societies: to foster practices of contemplation, fantasy, and irony; to explore sexuality, subjectivity, and the uncanny; and to articulate longings for unity with nature and for moral certainty. Each essay in the collection shows, in its own way, how music may provoke transformative reflection in its listeners and thus help guide humanity to its own essential embodiment in the world.
The range of topics is broad and developed with an eye both to the historical specificity of values and to the variety of their possible incarnations. The music is both canonical and noncanonical, old and new. Although all of it is “classical,” the contributors’ treatment of it yields conclusions that apply well beyond the classical sphere. The composers discussed include Gabrieli, Marenzio, Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wagner, Puccini, Hindemith, Schreker, and Henze.
Anyone interested in music as it is studied today will find this volume essential reading.