Hanslick, Eduard

Hanslick, Eduard


Born Sept. 11, 1825, in Prague; died Aug. 6, 1904, in Baden, near Vienna. Austrian music critic.

A student of the Czech composer V. J. Tomašek, Hanslick graduated from the law faculty of the University of Vienna. In 1856 he became an assistant docent at the University of Vienna in history and the aesthetics of music, and in 1861 he became a professor. In the treatise On the Musically Beautiful (1854), Hanslick took the position of a theoretician of formalism, declaring that “the content of music is moving sound forms” and that music may depict only the dynamic side of feelings divorced from their content. Following the philosopher I. Kant, he affirmed that “the beautiful does not have a goal, for it is pure form.” Influenced by criticism Hanslick recognized that the argument given in his book was inadequate, and subsequently he concerned himself with the history of music. A formalistic approach was expressed also in the critical articles that Hanslick published beginning in 1846. In them he came out against Wagner and Liszt, failed to appreciate the creativity of outstanding composers of the 19th century (including Chopin, Berlioz, and Verdi), and attacked many of the most important developments in Russian music.


Geschichte des Concertwesens in Wien, vols. 1-2. Vienna, 1869-70.
Aus dem Concertsaal, 2nd ed. Munich-Berlin, 1886.
Die moderne Open Kritiken und Studien, vols. 1-9. Berlin, 1875-1900.
Aus meinem Leben, vols. 1-2, 4th ed. Berlin, 1911.
In Russian translation:
O muzykal’no-prekrasnom. Moscow, 1895. [With an introduction by G. Larosh.]


Markus, S. “Voinstvuiushchii formalist E. Ganslik.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1949, no. 8.
Markus, S. Istoriia musykal’noi estetiki, vol. 2. Moscow, 1968.
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