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2014 – Dissonant Discourses? Finding Harmonies in Music and German Studies


Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
Featuring a Performance by Members of the Nashville Symphony

Keynote Speaker: Holly Watkins, Eastman School of Music

From minnesang to Mahler and beyond, the musical tradition of the German-speaking world has been remarkable not only for its aesthetic quality, but also because of the unusual degree to which musical works have been caught up in political, literary, and philosophical discourses. These convergences go well beyond such outright considerations of music in writing and philosophy as E.T.A. Hoffmann’s review of Beethoven’s 5th or Adorno’s dismissal of jazz. Examples of deeper and more subtle connections between music and language are found in everything from the complex use of alliteration in the Hildebrandslied to Thomas Mann’s use of sonata form in Tonio Kröger. Music crosses boundaries, whether these are the spatial boundaries muddled by Turkish-German rappers or the temporal boundaries sprung by heavy metal bands interpreting Walther’s courtly lyrics. Music can make the circular nature of such crossings apparent, as when a visitor to Magdeburg’s line-dancing club “The Nashville Saloon” hears an American country music singer break into a yodel. An interdisciplinary approach to music and German studies can offer new metaphors and pathways of thought for contemporary discussions of literature, history, politics, media, culture, and, of course, music itself.

Download the program as a pdf Dissonant Discourses Program

Program for Dissonant Discourses?

Thursday, February 20 Sarratt Cinema
7:30 pm Screening: Wagner & Me (McGrady, 2010)
Presented by Lutz Koepnick (German & Film Studies)
Friday, February 21 Sarratt|Rand Center, Room 216 | 220
2:00 pm Registration
2:15 pm Welcome Meike Werner (Chair, Department of Germanic & Slavic Languages)
Opening Remarks Andrea Weatherman (President, GGSA)
2:30 pm Music, Language, and Artistic Identity
Moderator: Jessica Riviere | Respondent: Julian Ledford
Alexis VanZalen, Eastman School of Music
The Self-Fashioning of a Consummate Musical Orator: Dieterich Buxtehude in Seventeenth-Century Lübeck
Alexis B. Smith, University of Oregon
A Chord of Leibniz’s Pre-Established Harmony in
Novalis’ Die Lehrlinge zu Sais
3:45 pm Break
4:00 pm Musical Criticism: Wagner, Schumann & Friends
Moderator: Alejandro Arango | Respondent: Johannes Endres
Oren Vinogradov, UNC Chapel Hill
The Contesting of Faust: Composer Networks and the
Status of Program Music in 1850’s Germany
Jan Buerger, Vanderbilt/Marbach
Hans Henny Jahnn and Dieterich Buxtehude
5:15 pm Break
5:30 pm Keynote: Toward a Posthumanist Organicism
Holly Watkins, Eastman School of Music
7:15 pm Dinner: Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery
Saturday, February 22 Sarratt|Rand Center, Room 216 | 220
9:00 am Breakfast
9:30 am Ohne Musik wäre das Leben ein Irrthum
Moderator: Leslie Reed | Respondent: Rebecca Panter
Scott Gleason, Fordham University
A Flock of Vogelfrei Songs
Garrett L. Johnson, Arizona State University
Dramatizing Nietzsche and Wagner: Wolfgang Rihm’s
Opera Dionysos
Robert Mottram, University of Oregon
The Music of Forgetting: The Witness in Nietzsche and
11:00 am Break
11:30 am Visual Musicality: Sonic Embodiments of Modernity
Moderator: Maria Bjorkman | Respondent: Barbara Hahn
Ethan Blass, University of Chicago
Rilke’s Sonette an Orpheus: auf der “unendlichen Spur” von Musik
Emily Dreyfus, University of Chicago
“Spielt da nicht wer?” Musical Reverberations in Arthur Schnitzler’s Fräulein Else (1924)
Mark J. Phillips, Michigan State University
“I receive; therefore I am”: Radiophonic Subjectivity in Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz
1:00 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Musical Identity in Fragmented Contexts
Moderator: Alexandra Campana | Respondent: Ingo Kieslich
Sarah Elaine Neill, Duke University
Genre and Reception in Schoenberg’s Op. 15, No. 15
Kristina Marie Eckelhoff, University of Arkansas
Romanticism and Resistance: Expressions of Nationalism and Modernism in the Lieder of Hans Pfitzner and Viktor Ullmann
James Archer, University of Durham, UK
Adorno, Eisler, and the Lyric Challenge to ‘Non-Identity’
4:00 pm Benton Chapel
Performance & Discussion with a Chamber Group from the Nashville Symphony
7:00 pm Closing Reception at the Home of Barbara Hahn
Directions will be announced.