History in Mighty Sounds: Musical Constructions of German National Identity, 1848 -1914

History in Mighty Sounds: Musical Constructions of German National Identity, 1848 -1914

Barbara Eichner

Hardback
$99.00

Boydell Press

Overview

Overview

An indispensable study of nineteenth-century German music, history and nationalism.
Music played a central role in the self-conception of middle-class Germans between the March Revolution of 1848 and the First World War. Although German music was widely held to be 'universal' and thus apolitical, it participated - like the other arts - in the historicist project of shaping the nation's future by calling on the national heritage. Compositions based on - often heavily mythologised - historical events and heroes, such as the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest or the medieval Emperor Barbarossa, invited individual as well as collective identification and brought alive a past that compared favourably with contemporary conditions.
History in Mighty Sounds maps out a varied picture of these 'invented traditions' and the manifold ideas of 'Germanness' to which they gave rise, exemplified through works by familiar composers like Max Bruch or Carl Reinecke as well as their nowadays little-known contemporaries. The whole gamut of musical genres, ranging from pre- and post-Wagnerian opera to popular choruses to symphonic poems, contributes to a novel view of the many ways in which national identities were constructed, shaped and celebrated in and through music. How did artists adapt historical or literary sources to their purpose, how did they negotiate the precarious balance of aesthetic autonomy and political relevance, and how did notions of gender, landscape and religion influence artistic choices? All musical works are placed within their broader historical and biographical contexts, with frequent nods to other arts and popular culture. History in Mighty Sounds will be indispensable reading for anyone interested in nineteenth-century German music, history and nationalism.

Barbara Eichner is Senior Lecturer in Musicology at Oxford Brookes University.

Details

October 2012
14 black and white, 24 line illustrations
310 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Music in Society and Culture
ISBN: 9781843837541
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BIC AVGC5, 1DFG, 2AB, 3JH
BISAC MUS000000, HIS037060, HIS014000
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Related Titles

Table of Contents

Introduction
The Pure Mirror: National Epic as National Opera
Germanic Heroes for Modern Germans: Gender and the Nation
Lost in Transfiguration: Redemption Operas in the Fin de siècle
The Sacred Nation and the Singing Nation: The Choral Movements
Symphonic Visions from the Periphery

Reviews

Certainly makes for an impressive opening volume. (...) A very well-researched, cogently argued, as well as sympathetic, treatment of a fascinating subject, equally fruitful for the historian and the musicologist, and perhaps still more so for the scholar and reader who would be both. MUSIC AND LETTERS

This work is a valuable contribution for anyone wishing to chart the trends and developments of German music during a crucial era. GERMAN HISTORY

Eichners Buch bietet eine hervorragende, klar geschriebene Einführung in die Thematik und ein breites Panorama an Beispielen mit einer Vielzahl neuer Fakten, Schlussfolgerungen und Querbezüge. Besonders hervorzuheben ist die gelungene Verbindung von einfühlsamer Werkanalyse und kulturgeschichtlicher Kontextualisierung. DIE TONKUNST

Eichner's thesis is ambitious. The book, after all, is designed to be as much about nationalism as it is about musicology; she even classifies it as a 'study into German national identity' (...), rather than a study of music per se. To that end, the introduction is an impressive assault on the ivory towers of German historiography. Eichner demonstrates formidable understanding of the forces at play in the pre-unification era, and her citations reflect a mastery of the relevant historiography. Once the text wades into the arcane detail of German musicology, Eichner is clearly on familiar ground. She demonstrates deep understanding of and passion for her chosen field. (...) this work is a valuable contribution for anyone wishing to chart the trends and developments of German music during a crucial era. GERMAN HISTORY

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