By: Lyndal Roper
International Society for Cultural History, USA
CLASSICAL BULLETIN Volume: 94 Issue: 4
Pages: 57-73 Published: DEC 2018
Scholars have tried, for instance, to explain how the ascending bourgeoisie influenced various parameters of concert life in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. They have examined changing behavioural patterns of the audience (Müller 2015, Johnson 1994) and a ‘transformation of taste’ (Weber 2000). Most of the studies, however, do not really attempt to explain what role the emotional impact of music itself played. How did audiences experience different musical styles in different contexts? This article approaches this rather difficult question by applying a comparative methodology. The starting point is the observation that the performance contexts of ‘classical’ music were far from being homogeneous. By examining four performances of Ludwig van Beethoven's Leonora Overture No. 3 in highly different social contexts in Berlin from 1895–1907 — ranging from gala concerts of working class choirs, to open air military concerts, to performances in bourgeois circles — this article attempts to illustrate how the analysis of concert contexts can serve as a means to better understand the emotional experiences of concert audiences.
Kewords: historians, important thesis, classical study