Musical Meaning: Toward a Critical History. By Lawrence Kramer. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. ix + 335 pp. $22.50. American musicology has finally produced an Adorno--for better or worse. With his latest and most characteristic book, Lawrence Kramer has emerged as this country's only musical scholar with a higher intellectual profile outside the field than within it. Whether this achievement also heralds acceptance of the New Musicology, the controversial reform movement he leads (along with Susan McClary, Richard Leppert, and a few others), remains to be seen. But the force of his argumentation and the breadth of his audience undeniably make him a central player in musicology's ongoing identity crisis. Like Adorno, Kramer has made it a mission to deepen music's contact with other disciplines: to show his musical colleagues that venturing outside familiar territory can be worth the inevitable sacrifices, and (perhaps more important) to convince non-musicians that scholarly thought about music can offer unique, generally applicable theoretical insights. The project began some two decades ago with a ground-breaking study of art-song (Music and Poetry: The Nineteenth Century and After [University of California Press, 1984]), then continued with a "hermeneutic" approach to nineteenth-century instrumental music (Music
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: May 17, 2005
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