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The Hans Keller Archive

The Work

From his mid-teens onwards, Hans Keller wrote voluminously, and his complete writings would fill many volumes (a fairly comprehensive bibliography appears in Music Analysis, Vol. 5, Nos. 2-3, 1986). The Archive project thus aims, not for completeness, but for a comprehensive selection, gathering unpublished and published work alike into book form. For the most part, Keller would apply himself obsessively to an area of activity and then abandon it for the next, with some areas running concurrently. He especially favoured ‘columns’ in, or regular contributions to, leading journals such as Music Review, Musical Opinion, The Listener, The Spectator, and Music and Musicians. From beginning to end his writing is consistently lucid, witty, aphoristic, and psychological in orientation; and although the work mixes set-piece essays with journalism, its most significant aspect is analytic: Keller himself thought his contribution lay primarily in the philosophy of criticism.
All of this determines the shape of the project. The volumes are inter-dependent and taken together provide a chronology of his thought for well over forty years (1938-85); they address particular topics; and internally many of them fall into sections that are either mainly philosophical, mainly of the moment, or somewhere in between. There are also a few monographs that are relatively free standing, though even so, they are mainly collections of shorter pieces (as with 1975 (1984 minus 9)).

The strategy of the archive is to gather the writings into overlapping categories. The first wave of publications is arranged under four headings

Early Work

Music and Psychology (1938-52); Hans Keller and Internment (1940); Film Music and Beyond (1946-59). 

Middle Work

Hans Keller and the BBC (1959-79); Functional Analysis: The Unity of Contrasting Themes (1957-62); Chamber Music (1959-79); Truth and Music (1967-70). 

Late Work

The Jerusalem Diary (1977 and 1979); The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (1977); Stravinsky Seen and Heard / Stravinsky the Music Maker (1982/2010); The Keller Column (1984-85); Criticism (post., 1987). 

Work from All Periods

Essays on Music, Selected Letters, Twilight of the Critics, Is Opera Really Necessary?

Keller’s other volumes (excluding opera guides, art books and pamphlets) include


1975 (1984 minus 9) (London, Dobson, 1977), reissued as Music, Closed Societies and Football (London, Toccata, 1986); The Great Haydn Quartets: Their Interpretation (London, Dent, 1986). 


(with Donald Mitchell) Music Survey: New Series 1949-52 (London, Faber, 1981); (with Donald Mitchell) Benjamin Britten: A Commentary on His Works from a Group of Specialists (London, Rockliff, 1952); (with C. F. Flesch) The Memoirs of Carl Flesch (London, Salisbury Square, 1957).

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