Schubert in the European Imagination, Volume 2

Schubert in the European Imagination, Volume 2

Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

Scott Messing


University of Rochester Press



A richly detailed examination of the historical reception of Franz Schubert in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe, with a concentration on fin-de-siècle Vienna.
Schubert in the European Imagination: Fin-de-Siècle Vienna examines the composer's historical and cultural reception by Viennese modernists. By 1900, issues of gender had crossed with those of nationalism, especially in the city that came to consider Schubert as its favorite musical son. As Messing here explains and explores in rich detail, composers, writers, and visual artists manipulated the conventions of the composer and gender in ways that critiqued the very culture that had created this image.
In order to expose the hypocrisy of social relationships, painter Gustav Klimt and writers Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and Peter Altenberg exploited the collision between innocence and sexuality, and Schubert was a readily familiar sign for the former.
The composer Arnold Schoenberg substituted his own formulation of Schubert in place of the older, popular conceptions of the composer, adding him to an illustrious list of figures whose significance he sought to redesign.

Scott Messing is Charles A. Dana Professor of Music at Alma College, and author of Neoclassicism in Music (University of Rochester Press, 1996).


April 2007
12 black and white, 16 line illustrations
332 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580462136
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BISAC HIS010000, MUS006000, BIO005000
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Table of Contents

Political Culture and Schubert's Stadtpark Monument
1897: The Politics of a Schubert Year
Gustav Klimt's Schubert
Schubert and Jung-Wien: Arthur Schnitzler and Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Schubert, Modernism, and the Fin-de-Siècle Science of Sexuality
Peter Altenberg's Schubert
Arnold Schoenberg's Schubert


Viewing fin de siècle Viennese culture through the lens of Schubert reception [in vol. 2] proves a highly rewarding exercise, and Messing's work deserves to attract the attention of scholars from a wide range of disciplines. . . . Engages with a striking breadth of texts and artefacts . . . from cartoons and kitschy postcards to Gustav Klimt's [painting] Schubert am Klavier and Schoenberg's strings quartets. MUSIC AND LETTERS [James Garratt]

This is cultural history at its best -- "thick" history that uncovers the multiple, fascinating forces at work between the centennial celebrations of Schubert's birth and death. A dazzling work of reception history, Messing's book illuminates Schubert's role in the politics of gender, race, and cultural identity in fin-de-siècle Vienna. In so doing it provides the long-awaited musical counterpart to Carl Schorske's classic study Fin-de-siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture. --Glenn Watkins, Earl V. Moore Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan, and author of Proof Through the Night: Music and the Great War

A graceful, far-ranging, important study of fin-de-siècle perceptions of the Viennese composer as they affected national politics and cultural self-definition in the early twentieth century. The conceptual legacy of a feminine Schubert is scrutinized through the lens of political history, art, literature, music, and the inquisitive but choosy new science of sexuality. Proceeding with the contagious tempo of a fine mystery novel, this is "reception history" at its broadest, yet most exacting, often surprising best. --Alessandra Comini, University Distinguished Professor of Art History Emerita, Southern Methodist University

Author Bio

Scott Messing is Charles A. Dana Professor of Music at Alma College.

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