Adorno's Aesthetics of Music

The main aim of this book is to provide a conceptual context within which to situate Adorno's writings on music. It has quickly established itself as a classic text. Paddison surveys the early writings from the 1920s and examines Adorno's idiosyncratic reception of Marx and Freud. He then discusses Adorno's approach to analysis, and to the sociology of music, and his philosophy of history. The study closes with a critical assessment of Adorno's concept of musical material in the context of his best-known book Philosophy of New Music.


'Paddison guides responsible readers back and forth between his own work and Adorno's in a stunning process of dialectical illumination. In addition, Paddison's control of his material has given him the perspective to go beyond mere emulation of Adorno's methods to a useful critique of his musical enterprise … It is a book that one can present without embarrassment to graduate students conversant with the most up-to-date intellectual currents; even in the shifting sands of the increasingly postmodernist university, Paddison's book, like Adorno's work, has not only the sharp intelligence but also the irreducible multivalence to hold its own as a focus of study … [this] is a book that both in its contents and in its example constitutes an utterly reliable as well as endlessly rich guide to what may be the most important and most difficult musical thought of the century now passing. Max Paddison has written a magnum opus.' Rose Rosengard Subotnik, Journal of the Royal Musical Association