Skip to Content
The danger of music and other anti-utopian essays

The danger of music and other anti-utopian essays

Taruskin, Richard

This work gathers two decades of Richard Taruskin's writing on the arts and politics ranging in approach from occasional pieces for major newspapers to full-scale critical essays. It considers contemporary composition and performance, the role of critics and historians in the life of the arts, and much more

Hardback, Book. English.
Published Berkeley, Calif.; London: University of California Press, 2008
Rate this

Available: Newton Park

  • Newton Park – One available in Main Collection 780.15/TAR

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    00293128 Main Collection 780.15/TAR Standard Available


Statement of responsibility: Richard Taruskin
ISBN: 0520249771, 9780520249776
Intended audience: Specialized.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: 480 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Series: A Roth Family Foundation book on music in America
Subject: Musical criticism.; Music criticism


  1. Preface: Against Utopia
  2. 1. Et in Arcadia Ego; or, I Didn't Know I Was Such a Pessimist until I Wrote This Thing (a talk)
  3. From the New York Times, mostly
  4. 2. Only Time Will Cover the Taint
  5. 3. “Nationalism”: Colonialism in Disguise?
  6. 4. Why Do They All Hate Horowitz?
  7. 5. Optimism amid the Rubble
  8. 6. A Survivor from the Teutonic Train Wreck
  9. 7. Does Nature Call the Tune?
  10. 8. Two Stabs at the Universe
  11. 9. In Search of the “Good” Hindemith Legacy
  12. 10. Six Times Six: A Bach Suite Selection
  13. 11. A Beethoven Season?
  14. 12. Dispelling the Contagious Wagnerian Mist
  15. 13. How Talented Composers Become Useless
  16. 14. Making a Stand against Sterility
  17. 15. A Sturdy Musical Bridge to the Twenty-first Century
  18. 16. Calling All Pundits: No More Predictions!
  19. 17. In The Rake's Progress, Love Conquers (Almost) All
  20. 18. Markevitch as Icarus
  21. 19. Let's Rescue Poor Schumann from His Rescuers
  22. 20. Early Music: Truly Old-Fashioned at Last?
  23. 21. Bartók and Stravinsky: Odd Couple Reunited?
  24. 22. Wagner's Antichrist Crashes a Pagan Party
  25. 23. A Surrealist Composer Comes to the Rescue of Modernism
  26. 24. Corraling a Herd of Musical Mavericks
  27. 25. Can We Give Poor Orff a Pass at Last?
  28. 26. The Danger of Music and the Case for Control
  29. 27. Ezra Pound: A Slim Sound Claim to Musical Immortality
  30. 28. Underneath the Dissonance Beat a Brahmsian Heart
  31. 29. Enter Boris Goudenow, Just 295 Years Late
  32. For the New Republic, mostly
  33. 30. The First Modernist
  34. 31. The Dark Side of the Moon
  35. 32. Of Kings and Divas
  36. 33. The Golden Age of Kitsch
  37. 34. No Ear for Music: The Scary Purity of John Cage
  38. 35. Sacred Entertainments
  39. 36. The Poietic Fallacy
  40. 37. The Musical Mystique: Defending Classical Music against Its Devotees
  41. From the scholarly press
  42. 38. Revising Revision
  43. 39. Back to Whom? Neoclassicism as Ideology
  44. 40. She Do the Ring in Different Voices
  45. 41. Stravinsky and Us
  46. Envoi
  47. 42. Setting Limits (a talk)
  48. Index

Author note

Richard Taruskin is Class of 1955 Chair of Music at the University of California, Berkeley and is the author of Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions (UC Press), among many other books.


“This is one of the most important books about music you'll read this year. . . . No one has bridged the gap between music scholarship and mainstream media as virtuosically as Taruskin.”
The Guardian||“Very entertaining.”
New York Review Of Books||“A collection of essays by the fearsomely intelligent Berkeley-based musicologist [offering] a passionately engaging perspective.”
The Guardian||“Intellectually generous compendium that merits serious and sustained engagement.”
Classical Music Magazine||“Erudite and passionate . . . there is much within this intellectually generous compendium that merits serious and sustained engagement.”
Classical Music Magazine||“A stimulating book that offers a wide range of topics and ideas.”
Music Educators Journal