Glass objects have no 'aura' … glass is the enemy of the secret.
Absolute music has 'no history'.2 It denies that it was ever born. The fact that it emerged at the turn of the nineteenth century was not a birth, it claims, but an emancipation, a discovery unveiled by the German Romantics, as if absolute music had always been there, eternal and absolute. After all, an absolute by definition cannot have a history; God –the absolute absolute–cannot be historically grounded, and neither can the surrogate absolutes of the secular world such as Reason or the Transcendental Ego; they all claim to start from nothing, as a selfsufficient method or metaphysical entity, without genealogy or narrative. Absolutes only have histories when they self-destruct to reveal their false identity. This means that absolute music can only have a history when it is no longer absolute music.
The emergence of absolute music was muttered rather than announced by the early Romantics.3 In fact, the Romantics were so reticent about the subject that they did not even call absolute music 'absolute music'; that task was left to Wagner, who, ironically, was trying to expose its mendacious claims by negating it in his dialectics of music history.4 Absolute music is therefore a murky concept, born without a____________________