My Public For A New Age Essay
The founding composer of Marx 's new age, the age of ideal music, was
Beethoven. Marx viewed the whole of music history as a grand three-stage process of music 's spiritual development. The first stage is simply one of
"blessed play" - music learns the nature of its own parameters through childlike play and experiment; the second stage involves the expression of feelings; and the third rises to the expression of transcendent, spiritual content. While the music of Mozart culminates the second stage,
Beethoven is the composer of the crowning ideal stage. The spiritual content Marx sought and found in Beethoven 's instrumental music was not some timeless ideational essence, Romantic, Platonic, or otherwise, but rather the concretion of idealized and- given Marx 's and Beethoven 's historical provenance - politically charged human values, such as freedom and overcoming. Marx 's leap into the compulsions of the moral domain adds a crucial note to Hoffmann 's view of music 's spiritual nature as the
Romantic intimation of the infinite. For now the spirit of music is anchored in the moral bedrock of the age; and perhaps here we have again passed from the ethos of Romanticism to that of the Biedermeier-Vormarz.
Like Hoffmann before him, Marx argued that it was up to the critic to attempt to understand Beethoven 's works, a task that would take more than one hearing, as well…