Wonderfully displaying the verve and richness of Adorno's provocative ideas on the composition and development of classical and modern music and their necessary relationship to historical and material contexts, this volume brings together two significant collections of essays, Moments Musicaux
and Theory of New Music
, from the German collected works of one of the 20th century's most dazzling yet perplexing philosophers. The fidelity to the ordering of the original German editions allows some of the less well-known essays (such as those on Ravel and Offenbach) to thematically and stylistically resonate in the company of the famous (and infamous) works on Beethoven, Schubert, Schoenberg and jazz. With only a short introduction and occasional footnotes, the collection would perhaps have benefited from a preliminary consideration of the author's complex notions of subjectivity, objectivity and historical materialism that underpin his understanding of the development of music from Beethoven to the new music of 12-tone composition and beyond. Nonetheless, despite their undeniable and frequent difficulty, the blend of precise music analysis, sociohistorical awareness and stylized writing in the individual texts is always engrossing reading.