Music Is Good For You
by Ruth A. Solie
David Gramit. Cultivating Music:
The Aspirations, Interests, and Limits of German Musical Culture, 1770–1848.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002. xi, 272pp.
I n this book David Gramit might be said to be addressing The Question
for current historical musicology. As Svetlana Alpers once suggested that
the discipline of art history had been fundamentally distorted by its
doting orientation toward the iconography and values of Italian Renaissance
painting, so musicologists in recent decades have worried about the overwhelming
centrality of the German canon in our understanding of musical style,
value, and cultural meaning. Indeed, some have not been shy to suggest
that this repertory has itself become an ideology, not only within academic
musicology but, even as it now recedes into nostalgia, broadly across
Western culture as a whole.