The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Music

By Jim Samson | Go to book overview

20
Nations and nationalism
JIM SAMSON

Nationalisms

The French Revolution brought into sharp focus a cluster of ideas about freedom and rights that had been bred in seventeenth-century England and nurtured in eighteenth-century France. Unsurprisingly, it is far from easy to disentangle these ideas – to be clear about causes and effects. Notions of freedom and rights were no doubt promoted by the mode of production of an emergent capitalism in the seventeenth century. But they were promoted too by the Protestant reformation and its influential ethos; and by the philosophical empiricism cultivated by English thinkers. How is one to define a relation between these levels? A (broadly) Marxist position claims that changes in the polity, as also in the cultural and intellectual domains, are invariably motivated by changes in the socio-economic base. Yet this is in competition with the claim (by, for example, Max Weber) that ideas can change the world.1 Then again, more recent critical theory takes refuge in dialectics, a seductive solution to the chicken and egg problem, but one that may on occasion amount to a failure of nerve. Whatever the underlying causality, it is clear that on a political level strengthening notions of popular sovereignty were given practical meaning and propaganda by the Revolution in France, as earlier by the American War of Independence. These events effectively inaugurated an age of revolution and of liberalism, though it should be noted that from the start liberalism involved a dimension of contractualism as well as of freedom.

It was from this same cluster of ideas that nationalism took much of its impetus; indeed my pairing of French and American histories in the late eighteenth century already says as much. At the same time the relationship of nationalism to a parent ideology of liberalism was bound to be problematical – and turned out to be tragically so in twentieth-century history. The egalitarian premise that fed into and enabled the nationalist enterprises of the nineteenth century was inevitably compromised by the reality of the nation-state. 'Liberty,

____________________
1
Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Talcott Parsons (London, 1930).

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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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