Reflections on Art: A Source Book of Writings by Artists, Critics, and Philosophers

By Susanne K. Langer | Go to book overview

Problems of a Song-Writer

MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO

I HAVE WRITTEN a great many songs in my life; I have published more than one-hundred and fifty (not to mention all that have remained in my desk) and I have composed them in all the languages I know -- Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Latin. My ambition-even more than that, a profound urge within me -- has always been to unite my music to poetic texts that arouse my interest and emotion, to interpret them and at the same time to set them forth in lyric expression, to stamp them with the authentic and therefore undetachable seal of melody, to give utterance to the music that is latent within them, and, in doing so, to discover their real source in the emotions that brought them into being. In short, it is the "need for song" that has spurred me on, a need quite natural and altogether familiar to Italians. But, at least during the 19th century, my countrymen satisfied this need predominantly through theatre music (in which the quality of the words -- which were often only a pretext -- counted little); whereas my preferred territory has been the more intimate one of vocal chamber music, and my aim that of approaching the purest and highest poetic expressions, not only in Italian, but in foreign languages as well. That is why I have set to music not only Saint Francis of Assisi, Dante,

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Reflections on Art: A Source Book of Writings by Artists, Critics, and Philosophers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction ix
  • Beauty as Feeling 3
  • Art and Feeling 10
  • Beauty and Significance 37
  • The Paradox of Aesthetic Meaning 62
  • On the Problem of Artistic Form 71
  • The Aesthetic Problem of Distance 79
  • The Nature of Dramatic Illusion 91
  • Music and Silence. 103
  • Time in the Plastic Arts 122
  • Bergsonism and Music 142
  • Music and Duration 152
  • Notes on the Superposition of Temporal Modes in the Works of Art 161
  • The Concept of "Tonal Body" 174
  • The Essence of Rhythm 186
  • Morphological Poetics 202
  • A Boston Criticism of Whitman 229
  • Modern Ballet 234
  • Art and Craftsmanship 240
  • The Eye Is A Part of the Mind 243
  • On the Problem of Musical Hearing 262
  • The Image in the Rock 298
  • Problems of A Song-Writer 301
  • The Histrionic Experience 311
  • Sketch for A Pychology of the Moving Pictures 317
  • Music and Myth in Their Mutual Relation 328
  • Modern Architecture: Toward A Redefinition of Style 342
  • Index 357
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