© 2017

Musical Modernism and German Cinema from 1913 to 1933


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 1-12
  3. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 13-28
  4. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 29-43
  5. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 45-66
  6. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 67-84
  7. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 85-103
  8. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 127-148
  9. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 149-194
  10. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 195-220
  11. Francesco Finocchiaro
    Pages 221-237
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 239-259

About this book


This book investigates the relationship between musical Modernism and German cinema. It paves the way for anunorthodox path of research, one which has been little explored up until now. The main figures of musical Modernism, from Alban Berg to Paul Hindemith, and from Richard Strauss to Kurt Weill, actually had a significant relationship with cinema. True, it was a complex and contradictory relationship in which cinema often emerged more as an aesthetic point of reference than an objective reality; nonetheless, the reception of the language and aesthetic of cinema had significant influence on the domain of music. Between 1913 and 1933, Modernist composers’ exploration of cinema reached such a degree of pervasiveness and consistency as to become a true aesthetic paradigm, a paradigm that sat at the very heart of  the Modernist project. In this insightful volume, Finocchiaro shows that the creative confrontation with the avant-garde medium par excellence can be regarded as a vector of musical Modernism: a new aesthetic paradigm for the very process – of deliberate misinterpretation, creative revisionism, and sometimes even intentional subversion of the Classic-Romantic tradition – which realized the “dream of Otherness” of the Modernist generation.


music modernity Alban Berg Paul Hindemith Richard Strauss Kurt Weill aesthetics composers composing modernist avant-garde

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of ViennaViennaAustria

About the authors

Francesco Finocchiaro is Senior Research Scientist at the Department of Musicology of the University of Vienna, Austria. His research interests focus on the points of connection between composition, theory and aesthetics in Twentieth-century music. He edited Arnold Schönberg’s Il pensiero musicale (2011) and has also published extensively on film music, with special regard to the relationship between cinema and musical avant-gardes. He has taught in Italy at the Universities of Bologna, Milan, Florence, as well as at Ferrara Conservatory, and in Austria at the University of Vienna.

Bibliographic information


“Finocchiaro’s study delivers compelling insights into the relationship between Musical Modernism and German silent and early sound cinema. Approaching cinema from the vantage point of its engagement with modernist composers manages to move beyond the boundaries between “high” and “low” art, opening up the wider field of the cultural status of cinema in relation to coexisting art forms at a crucial historical moment.” (Anna K. Windisch, University of Salzburg, Austria. Co-Editor of The Sounds of Silent Films. New Perspectives on History, Theory and Practice, 2014)