Athens Concert Hall, 4-6 November 2003
The “World of Pictures” in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. On Theodor W. Adorno’s Musical Metaphorology
Translation in Greek: Ursula Vryzaki
Theodor W. Adorno’s thinking turns around parallels, relations, and identities between music and philosophy. His writings on music were epoch-making in the second half of the 20th century in diverse stages, diverse lingual, cultural and scientific circles, and, moreover, in different periods. For this reason, it can not be indifferent to music research which methodological strategies has the author applied in his writings, provided these give indeed a clarification about procedures of reception, which (much beyond Adorno) reach general layers of the musical cultures.
In my paper, I take as a starting point an example, Mahler’s fourth symphony, and put some questions regarding the manner, the contexts, the narrative procedure, as well as the music-analytical perspectives, through which Adorno talks on this work in his book Mahler. Eine musikalische Physiognomik (1960). First, I examine the problem what a “musical picture” is. Second, I turn to the notion “childhood” as the metaphorical space of memory and recollection. Third, motivated by the example of the “fool’s bell” at the opening of the fourth symphony, I talk about the question whether Adorno’s physiognomic metaphoricity is based either on mimesis or on reflection. And fourth, I turn to the question what knowledge regarding the relation of the metaphorical language of pictures to the specialised language of the theory of music can be won from Adorno’s analytical remarks on Mahler’s fourth symphony.