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Korngold and His World$
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Daniel Goldmark and Kevin C. Karnes

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691198293

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691198293.001.0001

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American and Austrian Ruins in Korngold’s Symphony in F-sharp

American and Austrian Ruins in Korngold’s Symphony in F-sharp

Chapter:
(p.167) American and Austrian Ruins in Korngold’s Symphony in F-sharp
Source:
Korngold and His World
Author(s):

Amy Lynn Wlodarski

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691198293.003.0007

This chapter shows that Erich Korngold's compositional process and materials reflected a particular traumatic mode of modernism—the ruin. Here, recognizable fragments from the past recall an uncomfortable or contested history of decay and destruction. Ruinous art forms betrayed the “temporal and spatial doubts that modernity always harbored about itself.” While some manifest as a material fascination with destruction and demise, others constitute an aesthetic that enables the audience to think about the historicity of our condition and even experience hope. Korngold noted that his preference lay with the latter. But Korngold's Symphony in F-sharp, Op. 40 (1947–52), in its quiet references to earlier repertories whose musical lives were deeply entangled in the modern historical moment, signaled its own disturbing relevance to the ruins of the time—whether the crumbling facades of Korngold's beloved Vienna or his experience in America as an exile in a state of fracture and suspension.

Keywords:   Symphony in F-sharp, the ruin, ruinous art, modernity, modernism, compositional process, Erich Korngold

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