The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Music

By Jim Samson | Go to book overview

Editor's preface

Single-author histories of nineteenth-century music are probably no longer tenable in light of today's specialised knowledge. The last credible contender may well turn out to be the challenging study by Carl Dahlhaus, frequently cited in our volume. Yet existing multi-authored histories present their own problems. Putting it baldly, they tend either to define their subject-matter too narrowly in terms of genres and styles, or to sacrifice thematic penetration to geography. Of course it is easy to criticise. However you approach a task like this, you will be wrong. But we hope to be wrong in the right sort of way. In general our approach is thematic, or topical. We try to offer explanations rather than assemble information, and that usually means focusing selectively on key areas that seem to illuminate our subjects rather than presenting straightforward repertory surveys. How, anyway, can such surveys be anything other than partial and arbitrary? More to the point, what do they really say about music history? So we are moderately (though not completely) relaxed about our coverage of repertory. Lacunae will not be hard to find for those who seek. But then what is the framework of certainties that allows them to be identified as lacunae in the first place?

To evaluate just how topics might be selected is the task of our first chapter, which reflects generally on historiography and on the competing claims made on us as historians of music within the Western tradition. In the process two very broad issues are raised, and they in turn feed into the structure of the book as a whole. One is the relationship between the components of music's 'double history', compositional and contextual: between, in other words, works and practices. Our hope is that aesthetic values are properly respected in this volume, but that they are at the same time integrated within broader social and intellectual contexts. That is easily said. In practice it amounts to a perilous balancing act between the demands of the text – 'the music itself' – and the claims of its context. The second issue concerns periodisation. And here (for reasons that will be argued out in the first chapter) we feel that a history of nineteenth-century music has some obligation to bring into focus the caesura separating the two halves of the century, since this is obscured by conventional

-xiii-

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The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Music
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Notes on Contributors ix
  • Editor's Preface xiii
  • Part One - 1800–1850 1
  • 1 - The Musical Work and Nineteenth-Century History 3
  • Bibliography *
  • 2 - Music and the Rise of Aesthetics 29
  • Bibliography *
  • 3 - The Profession of Music 55
  • Bibliography 85
  • 4 - The Opera Industry 87
  • Bibliography *
  • 5 - The Construction of Beethoven 118
  • Bibliography *
  • 6 - Music and the Poetic 151
  • Bibliography *
  • 7 - The Invention of Tradition 178
  • Bibliography *
  • 8 - Choral Music 213
  • Bibliography *
  • 9 - The Consumption of Music 237
  • Bibliography 258
  • 10 - The Great Composer 259
  • Bibliography 283
  • Part Two - 1850–1900 285
  • 11 - Progress, Modernity and the Concept of an Avant-Garde 287
  • Bibliography *
  • 12 - Music as Ideal: the Aesthetics of Autonomy 318
  • Bibliography *
  • 13 - The Structures of Musical Life 343
  • Bibliography *
  • 14 - Opera and Music Drama 371
  • Bibliography *
  • 15 - Beethoven Reception: the Symphonic Tradition 424
  • Bibliography *
  • 16 - Words and Music in Germany and France 460
  • Bibliography *
  • 17 - Chamber Music and Piano 500
  • Bibliography *
  • 18 - Choral Culture and the Regeneration of the Organ 522
  • Bibliography *
  • 19 - Music and Social Class 544
  • Bibliography *
  • 20 - Nations and Nationalism 568
  • Bibliography *
  • 21 - Styles and Languages Around the Turn of the Century 601
  • Bibliography 620
  • Chronology 621
  • Institutions 659
  • Personalia 689
  • Index 747
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