Lieder, Listeners, and Ideology: Schubert's "Alinde" and Opus 81

Gramit, David

One of the constants in the history of the reception of the nineteenth century lied has been a belief in the intimate and direct expressive power of the genre. Different though the vocabulary and concerns of Barthes and the nineteenth-century encyclopedists cited above are, their common starting point is a genre they perceive to have uniquely immediate access to the most interior regions of the listener. Although not often so explicitly stated, this understanding of the nature of the lied conditions much of the traditional music-historical discourse about the genre, including the most familiar commonplace of all: Franz Schubert's "establishment of the lied as an autonomous musical form." Schubert's songs achieve an immediacy of emotional expression that has no precedent. That immediacy removes the lied from any particular historical or social context and places it in unmediated contact with the individual listener, who can then be moved by, analyze, converse with, or simply luxuriate in the song as an autonomous work of art.



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Columbia University
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January 23, 2015