Among characterizations of the Darmstadt Summer Courses, none is more pervasive than the assertion that Darmstadt represented an intense Modernism, in particular a form of Modernism diametrically opposed to the excesses of Romanticism. But if Darmstadt is to be understood as a response to Romanticism, what are we to make of the ascendancy of Friedrich Hölderlin, a key figure in German Romanticism, as a source for texts? Hölderlin's texts have been a perennial favorite for Darmstadt composers since its inception, but Bruno Maderna undertook the most ambitious use of Hölderlin's works during the period from 1960 to 1969. Maderna's Hyperion, a collection of works based on Hölderlin's writings, amounted to no less than a rethinking of the Modernist project—one that does not shrink from its roots in Romanticism. Like the epistolary novel on which it is based, its idea is only approached through an interchangeable series of fragments, thereby engaging Romantic ideals of the work. Maderna's Hyperion continually awaits its completion through performance.
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