The Composer’s Rainbow: Rudolf Kolisch and the limits of Rationalization

David J Trippett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


In terms of modernist aesthetics, Adorno and Kolisch are like complementary twin brothers: the one a leading intellectual and aborted composer, the other a highly successful performer and aspiring philosopher. While their planned collaboration on a book entitled "Theorie der musikalischen Reproduktion" never came to fruition, their complementarity nevertheless masks certain vital differences in outlook, which this study seeks to uncover. It draws on a range of hitherto unpublished sources to examine the complex of philosophical assumptions within Kolisch’s concept of musical “interpretation” in performance. It asks what it means to make music “speak” as the objectification of a disembodied idea, and what is revealed through the dialectic of mechanical finitude and organic consciousness, as well as more broadly, that of a modernist work concept and the reality of actual performance on stage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-37
Number of pages9
JournalMusiktheorie: Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Rodolf Kolisch
  • Theodor W. Adorno
  • performance theory


Dive into the research topics of 'The Composer’s Rainbow: Rudolf Kolisch and the limits of Rationalization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this