The Great Transformation of Musical Taste: Concert Programming from Haydn to Brahms / Edition 1

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Overview

Grounded in knowledge of thousands of programs, this book examines how musical life in London, Paris, Leipzig, Vienna, Boston, and other cities underwent a fundamental transformation in relationship with movements in European political life. William Weber traces how musical taste evolved in European concert programs from 1750 to 1875, as separate worlds arose around classical music and popular songs. In 1780 a typical program accommodated a variety of tastes through a patterned "miscellany" of genres, held together by diplomatic musicians. This framework began weakening around 1800 as new kinds of music appeared, from string quartets to quadrilles to ballads, which could not easily coexist on the same programs. Utopian ideas and extravagant experiments influenced programming as ideological battles were fought over who should govern musical taste. More than a hundred illustrations or transcriptions of programs enable readers to follow Weber's analysis in detail.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In 'Great Transformation of Musical Taste,' William Weber traces the development of the musical canon we revere today — music, for the most part, composed by creative geniuses long dead. Audiences today prefer old works to new. ...[Weber] does show that the dead did not always reign supreme over our conception of the great and good. And he leaves us to conclude that they need not do so now." —Wall Street Journal

"Weber is to be commended for the clarity of his presentation.." —H-France Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521882606
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

William Weber is Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations of concert programs

Transcriptions of concert programs

Introduction 1

Pt. I Miscellany and Collegiality, 1750-1800

1 Concepts and contexts 13

2 Variations on miscellany 40

Pt. II Crisis and Experiment, 1800-1848

3 Musical idealism and the crisis of the old order 85

4 The rise of the chamber music concert 122

5 Convention and experiment in benefit and virtuoso concerts 141

6 Toward classical repertory in orchestral concerts 169

7 Promenade concerts: rise of the "pops" 208

Pt. III Founding a New Order, 1848-1875

8 Classical music achieves hegemony 235

9 Vocal music for the general public 273

Epilogue: the state of the musical community in 1914 301

Selected bibliography 311

Index 321

Illustrations follow page xvi

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