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By Robert Winston Witkin

Adorno is likely one of the prime cultural thinkers of the 20th century. this is often the 1st certain account of Adorno's texts on song from a sociological standpoint. In transparent, non-technical language, Robert Witkin publications the reader during the complexities of Adorno's argument in regards to the hyperlink among song and morality and among musical works and social constitution. It was once principally via those works Adorno verified the correct of the humanities to be stated as an ethical and important strength within the improvement of a latest society. by means of convalescing them for non-musicologists, Witkin provides immeasurably to our appreciation of this titanic of twentieth-century notion

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A pessimistic Odysseus, perhaps, and yet I cannot read his late essays withour feeling that the memory of Ithaca is strong. He is sometimes dispirited and he is often far-seeing, concerning the dangers ahead. Bur he does seek to steer around them, to find a way through; he never gives up believing that the knot can be undone, the disaster overcome and the ship steered back on course . In this he is quite unlike the tragic hero. The latter follows the relentless path laid out for him by destiny and crashes - 'the all against the all'.

It was a question of how to construct a self-contained world of musical events which was dialectical in the sense of the Absolute Drama: that is, which appeared to develop, in time, from the dialectical relations among its elements and to bring the whole out of itself. Th is required a principle of suspense - similar to chiaroscuro and linear perspective in painting - in terms of which all events could be relativised in a self-contained, rational and self-consistent totality. The technical means for achieving this in the case of music were the principles of what came to be known as 'classical tonality' .

The latter follows the relentless path laid out for him by destiny and crashes - 'the all against the all'. Even as a composer, Adorno did no such thing. He saw the price of progress and chose not to pay it . He did not follow Schoenberg into the rigours of twelve-tone method, and it is clear from his late essays (T. Adorno 1994d) that he continued, with all the 'cunning' of an Odysseus, to seek a way to liberate music without enslaving it . 27 2 SOCIETY IN SONATA-FORM The texts of novels or plays would appear, on the surface, to offer more obvious possibilities for sociological analysis than do musical compositions.

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