The National Aspect vs. “Nationalism”: How “Absolute” is German Music?

Ildar Khannanov


Musicologists in Russia and in the West agree on at least one issue: that the music of Austria and Germany (after its unification) written approximately between 1750 and 1850 is “super-national” and universal in its style and significance. The very fact of existence of such a universal style, claiming the role of being global, is hardly debatable, yet the way those who by the will of fate have been destined to present it varies from circumspect supposition to harsh, assertive evaluations which border with the idea of racial supremacy. The national aspect in art supports the personality of an artist, endowing it with wings. There is nothing disreputable in the phenomenon that the German, French, English, American and Italian music traditions have failed the examination for the status of “super-national” or “absolute” music and ended up in the same category, as Russian, Belorussian, Polish, Czech, Serbian and Bulgarian music.

Keywords: Austro-Italian style, nationalism in music, critique of nationalism

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