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“Rhythm - Language - Music”

Thrasybulos G. Georgiades and his work

Munich, 01/10/2012

Thrasybulos G. Georgiades (1907–1977), long-time Director of the Institute of Musicology at LMU, is regarded as one of the greatest of German musicologists. Georgiades was born in Greece, and his first love was engineering. As a structural engineer, he specialized in the building of bridges. According to Professor Hartmut Schick and Dr. Alexander Erhard,“In his work as a musicologist also, he succeeded in forming many unexpected links – with the philosophy of Heidegger and Gadamer for instance– or in establishing musical connections between Classical Antiquity and the Modern Era, between Greek and German music or between non-European traditions transmitted in non-written form and precisely notated Central European music.” The remark can be found in a new survey of Georgiades’ work and its impact entitled “Thrasybulos G. Georgiades (1907–1977): Rhythmus – Sprache – Musik” (Rhythm – Language– Music) which the two LMU musicologists have edited. The book collects contributions presented at a symposium held in Munich in 2007, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Georgiades’ birth.

It is particularly interesting to trace the influence that Georgiades’ training as an engineer had on his approach to musical analysis. “He did not see the composer as a gardener whose task it is to help an exuberantly growing musical structure to find an appropriate organic form”, says Schick. “For this reason, Wagner’s music always remained foreign to him. Instead, Georgiades viewed the composer as a constructor, who designs musical components and then fits them together in a certain way. In principle, the parts could be assembled in a different fashion; the point is that the final structure should be a stable one.”

In the new book, based on the proceedings of the Munich symposium, Georgiades’ approaches to his major research interests are compared and contrasted. The contributors include not only former students of Georgiades, but also renowned musicologists who do not belong to his school. The resulting confrontation sometimes generates controversy, but all the contributors focus on teasing out insights into the nature and evolution of Western music that we owe, directly or indirectly, to the studies carried out by Thrasybulos Georgiades. The volume also includes Georgiades’ essay on “Music in the Ancient World”, which was previously available only in Greek. The original German text of this work was long believed to have been lost, but was recently rediscovered among Georgiades’ papers.(suwe/PH)

Thrasybulos G. Georgiades (1907–1977). Rhythmus – Sprache – Music
Hartmut Schick, Alexander Erhard (Hrsg.)
Schneider Verlag, 189 pages, 1. December 2011
ISBN 978-3-86296-029-3

Professor Dr. Hartmut Schick
Phone: +49 89 2180 2371
Fax: +49 89 2180 3949

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