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The Creative Process in Music from Mozart to Kurtag


Publication Year: 2012

In this intriguing study, William Kinderman opens the door to the composer's workshop, investigating not just the final outcome but the process of creative endeavor in music. Focusing on the stages of composition, Kinderman maintains that the most rigorous basis for the study of artistic creativity comes not from anecdotal or autobiographical reports, but from original handwritten sketches, drafts, revised manuscripts, and corrected proof sheets. He explores works of major composers from the eighteenth century to the present, from Mozart's piano music and Beethoven's Piano Trio in F to Kurtag's Kafka Fragments and Hommage à R. Sch. Other chapters examine Robert Schumann's Fantasie in C, Mahler's Fifth Symphony, and Bartók's Dance Suite. Revealing the diversity of sources, rejected passages and movements, fragmentary unfinished works, and aborted projects that were absorbed into finished compositions, The Creative Process in Music from Mozart to Kurtag illustrates the wealth of insight that can be gained through studying the creative process. _x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii


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pp. ix

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pp. 1-16

Works of art have been compared to icebergs: what is visible is but a small part of the whole. An artwork might seem to exist in splendid isolation, but that impression is misleading. Cultural products inevitably arise from a context, a submerged landscape that is often not easily accessible. It is an undertaking of research to bring such things to light...

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1. Mozart’s Second Thoughts

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pp. 17-41

The popular image of Mozart’s music as having sprung into existence fully formed as the miraculous product of genius, as is conveyed in Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus and in Milos Forman’s film of the same title, is seriously misleading. While Mozart did not make nearly as many sketches and drafts for his works in progress as did Beethoven, he nevertheless...

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2. Beethoven’s Unfinished Piano Trio in F Minor from 1816

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pp. 42-76

The subject of this chapter is a piano trio that would have become one of Beethoven’s major chamber works had it been completed. On 1 October 1816 the composer wrote to publisher Robert Birchall in London concerning various publication arrangements...

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3. Schumann, Beethoven, and the “Distant Beloved”

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pp. 77-101

We turn now to a much-discussed composition by Robert Schumann, a piece that lies at the center of his innovative cluster of piano works from the 1830s and that was conceived in 1836 at the stressful nadir of his struggle for the hand of Clara Wieck, the brilliant young pianist who became his wife four years later. Perhaps no other work by Schumann underwent a more fascinating genesis. As originally conceived, the composition...

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4. Aesthetics of Integration in Mahler’s Fifth Symphony

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pp. 102-137

The intertwining of song and symphony so characteristic of Gustav Mahler’s Wunderhorn years did not end with his purely orchestral Fifth Symphony but assumed another form. Unlike the preceding three symphonies, which include both song quotations and texted movements, the Fifth Symphony contains no vocal setting; instead...

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5. Folklore Transformed in Bartók’s Dance Suite

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pp. 138-162

In his book The World of Yesterday, Stefan Zweig looked back at the land of his youth and early manhood, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy of the pre–World War I era, as a “world of security” in which “everything had its form, its appropriate measure and weight.” Zweig observed...

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6. Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments and Hommage à R. Sch.

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pp. 163-196

Like Franz Schubert’s Winterreise cycle, György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments, op. 24 (1985–86), centers on the archetypal theme of wandering, the seeking of a path that remains profoundly elusive. Certain of the trenchant texts extracted by Kurtág from Kafka’s...


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pp. 197-224


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pp. 225-233

About the Author, Production Notes, Back Cover

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pp. 243

E-ISBN-13: 9780252094286
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252037160

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012