MUSICAL-DRAMATIC LITERATURE constitutes a special kind on the stage and does not compete with the modern drama, which requires discerning and supplementary reflection. The portrayal of real life with its psychological and social problems, its milieu and other details, its "individual causality" ( Othello, Macbeth), should be left to the drama. Likewise, the great mass of historical material, objectively presented in accordance with its period features and cultural characteristics, belongs to the drama. Operatic, or musical-dramatic work on the other hand requires a special kind of thought and subject matter. What it demands is not some "great" theme, say of heroic nature or the like, not simply "grandeur" of plot, loftiness of situations in general. Nor can the "great idea," of which so much is said in connection with the musical drama, be exhaustively treated in a gratifying, single theme, such as the redemption motif. The vital nerve center of the musicaldramatic work is embodiment, representation of the unreal, comprehensible portrayal of higher and especially inner experience. The work of the musical-dramatic poet is to embody this experience in a____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Reflections on Art:A Source Book of Writings by Artists, Critics, and Philosophers. Contributors: Susanne K. Langer - Editor. Publisher: Johns Hopkins Press. Place of publication: Baltimore, MD. Publication year: 1958. Page number: 328.
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