Imagining of Community in Works of Beethoven, Verdi, and Shostakovich. Musical Means for Envisioning Community

Author: Greene, David B.
This book takes up pieces of music that imagine community. These works do not illustrate concepts of community or make community an explicit theme. Nevertheless, the particular techniques and structure of each work project an imagining of community that is unique to the piece. Studying the pieces together lays the groundwork for re-imagining the relation of arts and society.


“Green’s case studies are only the tip of the iceberg, however, as readers will, no doubt, wish to take up his invitation to consider how other great works of art may be imagining community.” – Prof. Melissa Butler, Wabash College

Table of Contents

Preface by Melissa Butler
Chapter One. When Musical Arts Imagine Community
1. Imagining and Conceiving Community
2. Arts and Community: Focus on the Imagining of Community
3. Arts and Community: Other Approaches
4. Overview of Three Case Studies
5. Some Methodological Considerations
Chapter Two. Shostakovich and Imagining the Common Good
1. Introduction: The Good of the State and the Good of the Community
2. Shostakovich, Civic Republicanism and the Pursuit of the Common Good
(1) Liberal and Socialist Views on Shostakovich and the Pursuit of the Common Good
(2) Civic Republicanism and the Common Good
3. The Pursuit of the Common Good
Chapter Three. The Chorus in Verdi’s Operas: Imagining the Individual and the Community
1. Introduction: The Malevolence of Nationalism; the Benevolence of Otherness
2. Choruses and Protagonists in Verdi’s Operas: Participating in and Transcending Community
(1) Aida
(2) I Lombardi and Falstaff
i. Lombardi
ii. Falstaff

(3a) I Due Foscari and Don Carlo
j. I Due Foscari
ii. Don Carlo
(3b) La Forza del destino, Macbeth and Otello
i. La Forza del destino
ii. Macbeth
iii. Otello
(3c) I Vespri siciliani

(4) Summary: Fluidity and Eventfulness in Imagining Community
3. Nationalism and Verdi’s Imagining of Community
Chapter Four. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony: Joy-Based Community and Community-Based Joy
1. Introduction I: Imagining Community through Feeling 2. Introduction II: Re-Imagining Emotion and Community through Re-Making Aesthetic Forms
3. The Musical Structure of Beethoven’s Finale and Its Impact on the Words
(1) Musical Relations in Place of Syntactical Relations among Words
(2) The Introductory Recitatives: Connecting the Finale to the First Three Movements and Rejecting the Connection
(3) Rejecting the Choral Finale and Rejecting the Rejection
(4) Musically Related Words in the First Section
4. The Musical Structure and the Process of Making and Unmaking
(1) Section Two. The March
(2) The Slow Section
(3) The Final Section
5. The End and Endlessness of Unmaking Form and Re-imagining Community