Theodor W. Adorno's “theory of the symphony” is modeled on Beethoven's heroic symphonies; these works form the basis for Adorno's arguments against the broadcast of symphonies on radio. A “radio symphony,” he claims, is not the same as the real thing and fails to deliver the true meaning of the music. The arguments are based on a peculiar configuration of space and time in the symphonies in which the temporal dimensions are so compressed that they form a spatial moment—an Augenblick that engulfs the listener in its metaphysical enclosures. Why should anyone believe such a peculiar theory? More important, does Beethoven's music have anything to say about it?

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.