CCM hosts guest lecture on enlightenment in 'The Magic Flute'

Richard Kramer's free lecture on October 27 is presented via Zoom

Each semester, CCM's Thinking About Music Series welcomes distinguished experts for musical discussions and lectures that are open to the general public and free to attend.

The series continues at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, with a presentation by Richard Kramer, Professor Emeritus from CUNY Grad Center. The title of Kramer's talk is "Seeking Enlightenment in The Magic Flute." The lecture will be presented online via Zoom; attendees can join the webinar through this link when it begins.

About the Lecture

What is Enlightenment? In a certain sense, The Magic Flute may be understood as a playing out of Immanuel Kant’s answer to that question: “Sapere aude! [dare to know]–Have the courage to use your own understanding”–a challenge that is at the core of Tamino’s perilous journey. But the idea of Enlightenment and the complexity of original thought encompassed under its banner demands of us that we examine the deeper questions that it asks: What view of Enlightenment is conveyed in Mozart’s music and Schikaneder’s libretto, and how does this view accord with those strains of thought and expression, of wit and sensibility, that we take to constitute the defining aura of the Enlightenment? The great arias of Tamino and Pamina, studied as embodiments of these qualities, are viewed against the master plots of the opera.

About the Guest Speaker

Richard Kramer

Richard Kramer writes on the music and aesthetics of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His Distant Cycles: Schubert and the Conceiving of Song won the Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society and an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Prize; a review essay on the Mozart sketches (Notes, Vol. 57/1, September 2000) won the Eva Judd O'Meara Award of the Music Library Association. Kramer was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science in 2001. He was  Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society and Vice President of the American Musicological Society.  Kramer came to the CUNY Graduate Center in 1998, having previously taught at Stony Brook University, where he served as Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Recent doctoral seminars include: Surfing the Enlightenment; After Enlightenment: Beethoven Inside Out; The Poetic Imagination: Schubert, Schumann and the Beginnings of Romanticism; Creative Copies and the Anxieties of Influence; Sketches, Fragments, Fantasy; On Late Style: an Interdisciplinary Expedition (with David Greetham, English); Hearing Mahler; and Mimesis (2010). Learn more.

About CCM's Thinking About Music Lecture Series

Since its inception in 1997, CCM's Thinking About Music Series has presented nearly 130 lectures and one symposium by guests from a number of different colleges, universities, schools of music, foundations, institutes, museums and publications. The series is co-directed by Professor of Music Theory Steven Cahn and Associate Professor of Musicology Jeongwon Joe.

The subjects of the lectures have covered historical musicology, music theory and ethnomusicology, along with the ancillary fields of organology, dance, music business and law, cognitive psychology, and the philosophy, theology and sociology of music.

CCM’s Thinking About Music Series is sponsored by the Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, Ritter & Randolph, LLC, Corporate Counsel; along with support from the Dean's Office, the Graduate Student Association and the Division of Composition, Musicology and Theory at CCM. These music theory and history discussions feature diverse topics presented by distinguished experts from all over the United States and are designed to engage participants’ imaginations and to consider music in new ways.

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Featured image at top: A decorative graphic containing the words "The Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Thinking About Music Lecture Series." Graphic Design/Mikki Graff

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