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Contents

Music in the Nineteenth Century

SATYR PLAYS

Chapter:
CHAPTER 12 Cutting Things Down to Size
Source:
MUSIC IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

Thus in Wagner's wake, as German opera became ever more apocalyptic (on the way to Götterdämmerung), and as grand opera became ever grander (on the way to Don Carlos and Aida), a contrarian strain began to appear: an opera that cut things down to size in pursuit of human (that is, personal) truth. The inevitable byproduct was a newly farcical and satiric breed of comic opera in which the symbolic butt of humor was opera itself. In a way this was a throwback to the very origins of comic opera, the intermezzi that had functioned as “satyr plays” between the acts of courtly extravaganzas. But the new genre consisted of full-length pieces (albeit modest ones) pitched at a bourgeois public that tended to find opera at once sublime and ridiculous. Giving an outlet to the tendency to mock the genre's ridiculous side—that is, its pretensions—the new genre actually protected the sublimity of the prototype.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012007.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Nineteenth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 16 Apr. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012007.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size." In Music in the Nineteenth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 16 Apr. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012007.xml
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