The Freedom … to Set Forth … 1777 - 2020 Hölderlin Hegel Beethoven

Philosophy and Art in Dialogue, Vienna, Austria

The lively exchange between art and science and between the university and the public will be in focus when literary scholars, philosophers, musicologists and artists meet at the University of Vienna. In this symposium, concerts and the concealed and open cross-links between Hölderlin, Hegel and Beethoven, all celebrating their 250th birthday, will be focalized, thereby unlocking the potential provided by free thinking and experience. “Die Freiheit aufzubrechen” or the freedom to set forth, as Friedrich Hölderlin put it in his poem The Course of Life, is a key to the culture of the era of these three great minds, which today is once again of the highest explosive power. The words chosen for the title of this event form a mental bond between the poet Hölderlin and the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel. However, they can also be projected onto the composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven's focus on freedom is evident and his affinity to Friedrich Schiller is as known as Hölderlin and Hegel's. Hölderlin's poetry is already considered music by literary connoisseurs and composers alike. While scarcely any of Hölderlin's lyricism was set to music by classical and romantic composers, the New Music of the 20th and 21st centuries has made Hölderlin one of its own. Hegel's first great work, Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), is just as much a work of philosophy as it is a performative coming-of-age novel. Hegel already took part in urban cultural life in Frankfurt, later in Berlin and on cultural journeys to Vienna, Prague and Paris, demonstrably visiting operas, plays and painting collections there and this is something which manifests itself in his aesthetics. Beethoven's deep inner involvement with literature is documented in his Lied and opera works. His preoccupation with philosophy is little documented yet his enthusiasm for freedom, the very notion of philosophy, is very apparent in his work.
Interdisciplinarity is to thus be achieved here by means of mutually complementary lectures, readings and concerts: with 20 lectures from literature and musicology, philosophy on Hölderlin, Hegel and Beethoven and their interdependencies.

March 4 – 6, 2020
University of Vienna, Austria

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