On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of Ludwig Finscher the contributions in this commemorative volume – written by eighty-four scholars of two generations – elaborate a particularly wide range of topics on historical musicology, starting from early Middle Ages and ending up to date with papers on figures like Bartók, Casella, Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Adorno. A common characteristic for most of the papers is that they refer to fields and issues that have been an object for research or have been used as an opportunity for research by Ludwig Finscher himself. As a par excellence representative of the musical-historical approach and research, L. Finscher contributed a lot to expand the boundaries of this approach and to reach its most current dimensions and methodologies.The democratic spirit, the social and political responsibility and a predisposition for a synthesis between the most accurate historical-philological methods with sociological contents, are common features for most of the contributions. These features place musicology – a conservative and severe discipline – in the avant-garde of the historical-philological disciplines.Certain common “modern” features of the methodologies implemented in most of the papers are:
It would take a whole team of musicologists for an analytical discussion of this volume. Besides, such and endeavor would be possible only in the context of particular specialized research on relevant topics. The review of this volume displays the most important issues approached by the contributors, such as the problem about attributing content different from the composer’s intentions, the problems and contradictions of teaching music theory on an academic level, the relation between music analysis and other fields (like philosophy, mathematics, logics, physics, linguistics, psychoanalysis), the issues concerning aesthetic judgment in the tradition of the Enlightenment and many more.
- A tendency to link music with other social and artistic fields.
- The association with contemporary trends in aesthetics, linguistics and analysis.
- In the papers dealing with analysis and the interpretation of certain works, the scrutiny of “absolute” music from a literary-critical point of view that refer to semantic dimensions of these works.
- The comparative reference and critical approach of the works in terms of the history of genres, forms and styles – a method that encompasses the force of German musicology.Finally, the review makes a special reference to the paper of Andreas Jaschinsky about the new edition of the music encyclopedia Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Ludwig Finscher – as a successor of Fr. Blume – is the general editor of the new edition. Special reference is made to the new spirit that distinguishes this edition from the old one. This new spirit is reinforced by the tendency to illuminate the same subjects in various entries and from various points of view. It is also reinforced by the methodological principle of introducing the topics historically and systematically as well. The editors are interested in including specialized knowledge from neighboring disciplines (philology, physics, mathematics etc.), as well as entries concerning the history of music since 19th century – areas that have been considered “peripheral” or “marginal”. The editors had to respond to the challenges of contemporary accumulated information and of the rapid development of interdisciplinary research that refers to future. This is one of the most important publishing achievements of contemporary musicology, considering that the entries included are not constrained just to inform readers, but they are designed to motivate research on new subjects.