The aesthetic of the picturesque, derived from the controlled wilderness of the landscape garden, provided writers on music with a language in which to describe the free fantasia, and it emerges here as a vital means for understanding the fantastical elements in the music of Bach, Haydn and Beethoven. A crucial category across all the arts in the late eighteenth century, the picturesque has lost its currency in modern musical criticism, in spite of its rich potential to shed new light on the fantastical elements of instrumental music in general and the genre of the free fantasia in particular. Just as English garden architecture, in which the picturesque found its origins, was changing the landscape of continental Europe, the fantastical elements of irregularity, temporal displacement, ambiguity, interruption, and self-referentiality in the music of Bach, Haydn and Beethoven were both lauded and criticized in terms borrowed from the discourse of the picturesque. This study reaffirms the centrality of the free fantasia and fantastical gesture in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century musical culture through an interdisciplinary approach that combines the visual, the literary and the musical.
In very good condition.