Music and the Middle Class: The Social Structure of Concert Life in London, Paris and Vienna

By William Weber | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER IV
THE HIGH-STATUS CLASSICAL-MUSIC PUBLIC

Introduction

For most readers, the classical-music world of about 1830 has a distinctly contemporary feel. Its concerts were full of the institutional formality and artistic conservatism people now associate with the present-day "serious" music scene. The minority status of classical occasions, too, and their conflict with popular-music events, suggest much about the make-up of musical life today. Indeed, their sense of being poor second cousins to the larger musical world seems more familiar now than the proud mood surrounding symphony orchestras during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Yet most classical-music concerts still had far to go toward modernization at the start of our period. As was true of so many areas of musical life, institutional forms developed faster than the rules and practices we associate with modernity. The absence of a conductor facing the orchestra at many of these occasions reminds us that concerts as we know them now were slow in coming. Developments within classical-music concerts between 1830 and 1848 did, however, bring them far along this path.

Classical-music life of that time is blessed with highly informative quantitative sources-membership lists, most luckily of all—because the great majority of its concerts had organizational bases. The events therefore tell far more about musical life than their small number might suggest, and can help deepen the conclusions advanced in the last chapter. Since the concert societies in London, Paris, and Vienna had considerably different institutional structures, we will first sketch out the similarities among them and then examine local developments in separate sections.

The new integrated elite public took a formal shape in this area of the concert world such as it did not in benefit concerts. In London the series controlled by the aristocracy (the Concerts of Ancient Music) and the one attended by the upper-middle class (the Philharmonic concerts) both went into decline and were replaced by a new unitary high-status series (the Musical Union). In Paris the Conservatory Concerts brought together all levels of the city's elites in a similar fashion. In Vienna the Philharmonic Orchestra moved toward that kind of institution (such as it became during the 1860s) but before 1848 did not establish itself as firmly or build up as exclusive an audience as its counterparts in the other two capitals.

The dispute between the two taste publics provided the historical context within which these new concerts appeared. Although

-53-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Music and the Middle Class: The Social Structure of Concert Life in London, Paris and Vienna
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 172

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?