Although Marx is not often acknowledged as such, he remains Western music’s single most influential theorist, as the person who gave Sonata Form its name and codified its elements. Sonata Form is used by academics for formal analysis, by performers for interpretive guidance, and by amateurs and professionals alike for an orientation to the formal structure of countless works. Above a certain level of proficiency, there is not a single musician in the Western Classical tradition who does not know Sonata Form: they know Marx’s legacy, if not his name.
Further awareness of Marx as a man is especially important. The naming of Sonata form, and the discussion of its elements, was not an act of mere taxonomic description. It was invested with convictions about music that Marx was among the very first to hold, and which we continue to value: for instance, that a composer’s formal choices are not made just by convention, but with intention, and that the way in which a work unfolds is itself meaningful; or that music of any era reflects the aesthetic priorities of its age. Those convictions, in turn, spring from Marx’s vigorous intellectual engagement with the world around him, its thinkers, its writers, and its politics. Without knowing more about Marx’s mind, all these important underpinnings of our beliefs about music, and musical form, remain unexamined. This translation provides a unique opportunity to read Marx in his own words.
His Recollections from My Life was published in 1865, Marx’s last book to appear during his lifetime, and have not been republished either in the German original, nor in any translation. Our translation with annotation and commentary will make available to English-readers this important view of music in Germany during the time of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and other familiar names from the concert hall.
Stephen Thomson Moore , Editor: Tom Moore holds degrees in music from Harvard and Stanford and studied traverso with Sandra Miller. He is presently Head of the Sound & Image Department of the Green Library, Florida International University, Miami, Florida. Before moving to Miami he was a freelance translator from Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, and Italian, doing scientific and technical translation in a wide variety of subject areas. His translation from the Italian of Why We Like Music, by Silvia Bencivelli, was published by Music Word Media in 2012. From 2004 to 2007, he was visiting professor of music at the University of Rio de Janeiro (UniRio), where he co-directed the early music ensemble, Camerata Quantz.
On traverso he has recorded with Kimberly Reighley and Mélomanie for Lyrichord (USA), and with Le Triomphe de l'Amour for Lyrichord and A Casa Discos (Brazil). He participated as flutist and interviewer for the CD released in Oct. 2006 marking ten years of music for flute by Sergio Roberto de Oliveira. Dr. Moore writes about music for Flute Focus, Flute Talk, Flutist Quarterly, BrazilMax, Musica Brasileira, 21st Century Music, Opera Today, and other journals. He contributes a composer interview to each quarterly issue of Sonograma, published in Barcelona, and has been the CD Review Editor for Early Music America since 2008. He has also sung professionally with the Symphonic Chorus of Rio de Janeiro, including performances of the Mahler symphonies no. 2 and 8 under Karabtschevsky, and with Concert Royal and Pomerium Musices of New York.