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The Melody of TimeMusic and Temporality in the Romantic Era$
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Benedict Taylor

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190206055

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190206055.001.0001

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La Sonate Cyclique and the Structures of Time

La Sonate Cyclique and the Structures of Time

(p.211) 5 La Sonate Cyclique and the Structures of Time
The Melody of Time

Benedict Taylor

Oxford University Press

Developing the problematisation of a unitary understanding of historical temporality, this chapter addresses a philosophical problem in our understanding of time, namely its topology or structure. Music is in a particularly privileged position to express the sense of the subjective flux of time, the thickness of the past and its constitution through memory, and in no musical repertoire are these points more pertinent than for the cyclic instrumental works of late nineteenth-century French composers long associated with Marcel Proust and his fictional composer Vinteuil. To this end, the chapter investigates pieces by three composers bound up with Proust’s world—Saint-Saëns’s First Violin Sonata, Franck’s String Quartet, and d’Indy’s Symphony No. 2. Each work suggests a subtly different relationship with time, whether suggesting the dissociation between past, present, and future, the disordering of ‘earlier’ and ‘later’, states of tenselessness, or the paradoxical simultaneity of incompatible tenses.

Keywords:   topology of time, music and tense, Marcel Proust, Saint-Saëns: Violin Sonata No. 1, Franck: String Quartet, d’Indy: Symphony No. 2

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