EDITORIAL: Listenings (2018)

Marcel Cobussen

About this exposition

In 2005 Dutch musicologist, composer, and writer Elmer Schönberger gave the Huizinga lecture entitled ‘Het Grote Luisteren – reikhalzen naar muziek’ [The Large Listening – yearning for music].[1] It is a passionate plea for a disinterested, disengaged listening to ‘real’ music, music as an autonomous art form, and explicitly opposed to popular music with its connection to ‘easy’ or consumptive listening. With great enthusiasm, Schönberger joins the heritage of Eduard Hanslick and his ‘tönend bewegte Formen’ [tonally moving forms] and Peter Kivy’s ‘music alone’. He condescendingly refers to the late 18th century, the only period in Western history in which the utmost refinement and the greatest music-technical complexity had merged with the popular virtues of street songs: the Mozart operas and Haydn symphonies. Schönberger’s Large Listening is a structural listening to high art that has, obviously, disconnected itself from socio-historical circumstances. Large Listening is not only a return to the basic material of music, to the tones themselves, but also requires understanding of the structural, architectural, and expressive richness of this ‘music alone’. Large Listening is listening to Webern, Stravinsky, Bach, Purcell, and Bruckner instead of Procol Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ (all examples are taken from Schönberger’s lecture).
typeresearch exposition
last modified27/06/2018
share statusprivate
licenseAll rights reserved
published inJournal of Sonic Studies
portal issue02. Issue 2

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