PRINT April 1999


David Toop

“ARCHITECTURE IS FROZEN MUSIC,” Friedrich Schelling remarked at the beginning of the nineteenth century, signaling both the distance between these two arts and their proximity. In some respects, they lie at opposite ends of the aesthetic spectrum: Music is the most ethereal, immaterial, and temporal of arts, architecture the most earthbound and palpable. Yet they have always shared a secret affinity. With rare exception, Western music is played and heard indoors and has always had to respond to the shape and stuff of its constructed environment. It’s no accident that the Gregorian chant—with its cavernous expanse and long sustain—is the musical art of the Gothic cathedral, or that chamber music is, well, chamber music: the intricately ordered sound of the Baroque drawing room. There is also a long tradition of Western art music composed for (or inspired by) particular buildings and spaces,

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