English translation: spiritual music of the intellect
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'Schon in seinen ersten gültigen Quartetten zeigt sich, dass der junge Komponist nicht nur auf den klassischen Vorbildern Haydn und Mozart aufbaute, sondern sich intensiv und schöpferisch auch mit dem von vielen seiner Zeitgenossen als „spirituelle Gedankenmusik“, als „wirre Klangfantasien eines ertaubten Musikers“ abgelehnten quartettistischen Spätwerk Beethovens auseinandergesetzt hat.'
As a confirmed Baroquer, I have no trouble with the second of the two quotes, but I can´t make out the "spirituelle Gedankenmusik". I would beinclined to interpret "Gedankenmusik" as "intellectual music", but how then "spiritual"?
Thank you all for a very perceptive set of proposals and comments, which all contributed substantially to my consideration of various possibilities.
I wound up using “spiritual music of the intellect”. The "intellect" element is for me one of the worst insults that can be levelled at music, and I concluded that that was what was (probably) intended here. I never did resolve the meaninglessness I perceive in this juxtaposition with “spiritual”, but I´m not sure whether that is my problem or that of the originator(s) of the phrase. 4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer
Explanation: Perhaps abstract/abstraction is a good approach. I think the "Musik" is a bit redundant; it's clear we're talking music here, and surely later in the sentence you'll use the word "work" (or pieces, or Beethoven's late whatever).