Creativity in Decline: Classical Composers' Diverse Responses to Aging

By S. Timothy Glasscock.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 11, 2015 $US5.00

The re-assessment of life and career that comes with aging can be observed in the life of composer Johannes Brahms. Deaths of family and close friends can affect a change in texts chosen for composition, liturgical or social function of the music composed, and the general direction of an artist's stylistic development. The composer’s earlier texts tended to contain traditional religious subject matter, while subsequent choices increasingly demonstrate feelings of insecurity, doubt, and despair. By examining this highly sensitive composer’s responses to aging, we can make hypotheses about the feelings of those who are unlikely to express their inner workings in such a demonstrative fashion. This can lead to new perspectives concerning the aging among us, and what their personal struggles might be. Further insight may be gained as to the kinds of music and poetry that should be used when working with the aging. Themes, texts, and topical foci can be gleaned to aid in the treatment of patients with anxiety about death and those who have experienced a death in their immediate support circle.

Keywords: Social Impacts, Spirituality, Historical Perspectives

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.9-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 11, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 494.483KB)).

Dr. S. Timothy Glasscock

Department Chair, College of Arts and Sciences, Music Department, Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky, USA