Eduard Hanslick

Eduard Hanslick (September 11, 1825August 6, 1904) was a German writer on music, perhaps the most influential music critic of the 19th century.

Hanslick was born in Prague, the son of a music teacher from a German family in Bohemia and one of his piano pupils, the daughter of a Jewish banker. At the age of 18 Hanslick went to study music with Tomšek, one of Prague's most important musicians. He also studied law at Prague University and obtained a degree in that field, but his amateur study of music eventually led to writing music criticism for small town newspapers, then the Wiener Musik-Zeitung and eventually the Neue freie Presse, where he was music critic until retirement. An unpaid lectureship at the University of Vienna led to a full professorship (from 1870) and later a doctorate in honoris causa. Hanslick often served on juries for musical competitions and held a post at the Austrian Ministry of Culture and fulfilled other administrative roles. He retired after writing his memoirs, but still wrote articles on the most important premires of the day, up to his death 1904 in Baden.

Hanslick's tastes were conservative; in his memoirs he said that for him musical history really began with Mozart and culminated in Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms. He is best known today for his critical advocacy of the music of Brahms and rejection of the music of Wagner, an episode in 19th century music history sometimes called the War of the Romantics. The critic Richard Pohl, of the Neue Zeitschrift fr Musik, represented the other side, the progressive composers of the "Music of the Future", which also included Liszt. They idolized Wagner, and in some of their more hyperbolic writings assigned him a semi-divine status; conversely, many of them despised Brahms. Being a close friend of Brahms from 1862, Hanslick possibly had some influence on Brahms's music, often getting to hear new music before it was publicly premired. Although Hanslick recognized Wagner's genius, and an early article on Tannhuser had drawn a favourable reaction from the composer, he saw Wagner's reliance on dramatics and word-painting as inimical to the nature of music, which he thought is expressive solely by virtue of its form, not through any extra-musical associations. The theoretical framework of Hanslick's criticism is expounded in his book of 1854, Vom Musikalisch-Schnen (On the Musically Beautiful), which started as an attack on the Wagnerian aesthetic and established itself as an influential text, subsequently going through many editions. It is sometimes claimed that Wagner caricatured Hanslick in his opera Die Meistersinger von Nrnberg as the carping critic Beckmesser and that this demonstrates that Wagner's anti-Semitism could infect his musical works; such claims are the subject of hot controversy.

See also

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Template:Wikiquoteda:Eduard Hanslick de:Eduard Hanslick ja:エドゥアルト・ハンスリック


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