It is the racinative urge, the precise opposite to the progressive urge, that compels Haydn to write fugues as the last movements of his supposedly 'progressive' string quartets op 20:
Pop artists do this all the time: it's called "back to the roots":
So, "racinative" as in, music that refers back to some past music or re-discovers some rooted aspect of music. Historians have ignored this fairly successfully, but I suspect it is an important aspect of music history. Composers are often fascinated with music history, even when they aren't looking to steal an idea. I know a young composer who worked hard to learn how to do a convincing pastiche of the style of Palestrina. Now there's something no-one is clamoring for! But it was important to him because it got him in touch with something important, deeply-rooted. This may also have something to do with Harold Bloom's theory of influence in literature. As Wikipedia says, "Writers find their creative inspiration in previous writers and begin by imitating those writers; in order to develop a poetic voice of their own, however, they must make their own work different from that of their precursors. As a result, Bloom argues, authors of real power must inevitably "misread" their precursors' works in order to make room for fresh imaginings." I don't know about misreading, but I think that composers often look back at those who came before in order to tap into some deep river of the essence of music and to escape the influence of the superficial fashions of the day. That may have been what Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were up to when they all incorporated fugal texture into many compositions. Fugue, at that point in time, was wildly out of fashion, which made it an interesting avenue to pursue. A racinative one, as opposed to a progressive one. I'm talking up using this new term because I think that the racinative impulse is not a conservative one, though it is often mistaken for such. The album Beggar's Banquet by the Rolling Stones, released in 1968, was racinative, not progressive, nor conservative. There had been so much experimenting the years previous with psychedelia, that the most radical act was to return to the old, blues roots.
Perhaps the most famous example of musical racination might be the invention of opera. No-one in Florence just before 1600 was trying to invent anything. What they were trying to do
was an attempt to revive the classical Greek drama, part of the wider revival of antiquity characteristic of the Renaissance. The members of the Camerata considered that the "chorus" parts of Greek dramas were originally sung, and possibly even the entire text of all roles; opera was thus conceived as a way of "restoring" this situation.A classic example of racination: returning to or the attempt to rediscover the roots of something. Here is part of the very first opera that we have (this is the second one written, the first was lost):
The irony is that, in their attempt to NOT invent something new, but rather re-discover something very old, they did actually invent something entirely new: opera. Funnily enough, those trying earnestly to invent something entirely new often end up by producing something like this:
Incidently, Stravinsky noticed how well racination worked for the Florentine Camerata so he tried it himself:
Alas, I don't think you can perform the same act of racination twice...