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Professor Neil Gregor’s Inaugural Lecture “In memoriam: Richard Strauss and the Legacies of War”


What do people hear in music? How might that change over time? Why should that be of interest to historians? This lecture explores such questions by asking how Germans listened to Richard Strauss' work after 1945. In doing so it seeks to engage from a historian's perspective in and with the new cultural history of music, a field which has hitherto been pioneered mainly from within the institutional and disciplinary frameworks of musicology rather than history. Its wider argument pleads less for dialogue across a particular interdisciplinary interface than for a greater focus on those problem spaces which lie between literatures of common interest across the Humanities and beyond - in this case literatures on the senses, on the emotions and on memory. At its centre, however, is an attempt to open up new perspectives on an overtly historical subject: the visceral legacies of the Second World War.

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