Abstracts of issue 14 (2000)
Book Review

Erwin Ratz
Einführung in die musikalische Formenlehre: über Formprinzipien in den Inventionen und Fugen J. S. Bachs und ihre Bedeutung für die Kompositionstechnik Beethovens (Universal Edition, Vienna 1973), K. Nasos, Athens 1987 (translation in Greek: K. Nasos).
Review: George Zervos
Erwin Ratz, Einfuehrung in die musikalische FormenlehreErwin Ratzs book – first published in 1951 in Vienna – has been and even today is an important landmark in the evolution of European musicology, especially in the field of musical analysis. Erwin Ratz was born in Graz, Austria, in 1898 and died in Vienna in 1973. A disciple of Adler in musicology and of Schoenberg in analysis and composition, Ratz had a versatile preparation to approach music not only as a musicologist, but also indirectly as a composer, due to his close connection with the great composer and master Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951). When Schoenberg left for Berlin in 1925, Ratz continued his study on composition with Anton Webern (1883-1945), who became his friend. His connections with the composers of the Second School of Vienna, his service as president of the Gustav Mahler Society and of the Austrian section of the International Society for New Music, and as a professor of music theory at the Music Academy of Vienna, are some of the facts that show his deeper relation to the intellectual and artistic world of his time.
Ratzs intellectuality and profound thought are demonstrated in the first paragraph of the introduction to his book, where the author quotes Goethe: everyone can see the matter; the content can be found only by those who have something to do with it and the form is a secret for most people (p. 7). Aim of the morphology and especially of the functional morphology is precisely the quest for this secret, which – after all – turns a concrete form into a real work of art.
Ratz does not just analyze concrete works, but he tries through functional morphology to teach how …to identify the unique and great in the works of the masters. This is possible only by approaching the work of great composers, as it is formulated within the historical continuity and unity of the west European tradition. The subtitle of the book (On the Principles of the Form in the Inventions and Fugues of J. S. Bach and their Meaning for Beethovens Compositional Technique) indicates the historical continuity from Bach to Beethoven that is manifested through different – at first glance – forms, but which is governed by common fundamental morphological and intellectual principles: the intellectual (musical) content of the work is manifested through the form only when the parts that constitute this form are capable of displaying its content at every moment in the development of the work through a functional collaboration and by creating some kind of unity that is unique for each work.
On concluding this short review we feel obliged to add that it represents a key addressed to musicologists, to composers and to everyone who would like to understand in depth the morphology of music and musical analysis, since the secrets of the compositional procedures are introduced to the reader through the works of composers like Bach and Beethoven.

© Musicology