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Look Inside The Great Transformation of Musical Taste

The Great Transformation of Musical Taste
Concert Programming from Haydn to Brahms


  • Date Published: December 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521124232

£ 37.99

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About the Authors
  • Grounded in knowledge of thousands of programs, this book examines how musical life in London, Leipzig, Vienna, Boston, and other cities underwent a fundamental transformation in relationship with movements in European politics. William Weber traces how musical taste evolved in European concert programs from 1750 to 1870, 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.

    • Contains useful source materials: a survey of concert programs, 26 in illustration and 94 in transcription, available nowhere else
    • Addresses the key issue of the division between popular and classical music in the nineteenth century
    • Adopts an unusual transnational approach in comparing concerts in London, Paris, Leipzig, Vienna and Boston, among other cities
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Wonderful book for 'classical' music lovers … This book gets good reviews elsewhere and for good reason: it is fascinating and informative. A must-have.' E. Douglas Jensen,

    'If you have ever wondered why concert programs in the modern world are constructed as they are, Weber's fascinating book will help you understand … Weber draws his data from a vast range of contemporary programs, painstakingly accumulated, many reproduced in facsimiles, others summarized.' Philip Gossett, Common Knowledge

    'This fascinating window into the concert world that William Weber has provided will make The Great Transformation of Musical Taste essential reading for anyone interested in nineteenth-century music and concert life.' Journal of Musicological Research

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521124232
    • length: 380 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Miscellany and Collegiality, 1750–1800:
    1. Concepts and contexts
    2. Variations on miscellany
    Part II. Crisis and Experiment, 1800–48:
    3. Musical idealism and the crisis of the old order
    4. The rise of the chamber-music concert
    5. Convention and experiment in benefit and virtuoso concerts
    6. Toward classical-music orchestral concerts
    7. Promenade concerts: rise of the 'pops'
    Part III. Founding a New Order, 1848–75:
    8. Classical music achieves hegemony
    9. Vocal music for the general public
    10. Epilogue: state of the musical community in 1914.

  • Author

    William Weber, California State University, Long Beach

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