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I have a nice hardcover of this long out-of-print item in my collection and noticed that Goodreads did not have it in its database (nor did the links to Amazon) so Ive added it here. This is my basic description of its contents: Translator, music critic and historian Henry Pleasants presents selected critical pieces never before (or since) published in English, originally written in the mid- to- late-19th century by Austrian music critic Eduard Hanslick. Hanslick was a classicist who admired Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms and despised what he thought were the meandering modernisms of programmatical composers such as Wagner, Liszt and Bruckner. The book is composed of both negative and positive reviews to present a balanced look at Hanslicks career and critical sensibilities. Ive only so far read the introduction, and already Im finding myself more open to Hanslicks point of view, no mean feat as the man has been demonized fairly well by posterity, which derides him in deference to the gargantuan art and enduring legacies of Wagner and Bruckner in particular. Of course, I adore their music, and always thought that Hanslick must have been a leaden, stick-in-the-mud, behind-the-times fuddy duddy philistine for opposing the new in music. But I find that in some ways I agree with some of his critical points, particularly that music should not have (or doesnt need) programmatical associations. I can sympathize with his view of classical structure, but I do find that dogmatic and limiting. But anyway its fascinating to read about first impressions of works, especially the symphonies of Brahms, which were having their first hearings when these reviews were published. Its interesting to see how Hanslicks fresh reviews both hit the nail on the head and miss the mark in equal measure. There are some generalizations and ambiguity in some of his writings that would not pass critical muster today. He thought Wagners music was made up of nothing but superlatives, which oddly seems like a backhanded compliment if you think about it. Wagner and Hanslick detested one another, and each shows up venomously in the respective writings of each. In one of Wagners operas (Lohengrin or Meistersinger, not sure which), Hanslick (by another name) takes the form of an idiotic critic caricature. Wagner the anti-Semite was quick to brush anyone who disagreed with him or his art as representing the Jewish strain, or some such, in art, and painted Hanslick in the same terms even though the latter was Catholic. Anyway, Ive only started reading this and have to admit that I have more sympathy for Hanslick and his views, however much I may disagree with many of them.Its no accident that Hanslicks translator is Henry Pleasants, both men seemed self aware of their role as critical martyrs of their respective centuries. Hanslicks condemnation of the 19th centurys music of the future is mirrored by Pleasants own criticism of 20th century atonalism, serialism and such in his own time (see his other OOP book, The Agony of Modern Music). One kindred spirit to another...

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