The Triumph of Music: The Rise of Composers, Musicians and Their Art

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Harvard University Press, 2008 - Music - 416 pages
7 Reviews

A distinguished historian chronicles the rise of music and musicians in the West from lowly balladeers to masters employed by fickle patrons, to the great composers of genius, to today's rock stars. How, he asks, did music progress from subordinate status to its present position of supremacy among the creative arts? Mozart was literally booted out of the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg “with a kick to my arse,” as he expressed it. Yet, less than a hundred years later, Europe's most powerful ruler—Emperor William I of Germany—paid homage to Wagner by traveling to Bayreuth to attend the debut of The Ring. Today Bono, who was touted as the next president of the World Bank in 2006, travels the world, advising politicians—and they seem to listen.

The path to fame and independence began when new instruments allowed musicians to showcase their creativity, and music publishing allowed masterworks to be performed widely in concert halls erected to accommodate growing public interest. No longer merely an instrument to celebrate the greater glory of a reigning sovereign or Supreme Being, music was, by the nineteenth century, to be worshipped in its own right. In the twentieth century, new technological, social, and spatial forces combined to make music ever more popular and ubiquitous.

In a concluding chapter, Tim Blanning considers music in conjunction with nationalism, race, and sex. Although not always in step, music, society, and politics, he shows, march in the same direction.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ChrisWildman - LibraryThing

I agree with Bruchu. But I found it more detailed, especially in relation to the popular side of music history which is often overlooked by musos who just survey the composers. It also finds much that ... Read full review

Review: The Triumph of Music: The Rise of Composers, Musicians and Their Art

User Review  - Dr_Savage - Goodreads

While this book is well-written and fairly well-researched (leaving aside the end-notes which refer readers to Wikipedia articles), it is also eminently forgettable. The basic problem is that the ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
STATUS YOU ARE A GODMAN THE TRUE ARTIST BY GODS GRACE
7
Handle Haydn and the Liberation of the Musician
17
Mozart Beethoven and the Perils of the Public Sphere
30
Rossini Paganini Lisztthe Musician as Charismatic Hero
45
Richard Wagner and the Apotheosis of the Musician
57
The Triumph of the Musician in the Modern World
60
PURPOSE MUSIC IS THE MOST ROMANTIC OF ALL THE ARTS
73
The Democratisation of Musical Space
153
Places and Spaces for the Masses
163
TECHNOLOGY FROM STRADIVARIUS TO STRATOCASTER
173
Pianos for the Middle Classes
180
Valves Keys and Saxophones
188
Recording
197
Radio and Television
204
The Electrification of Youth Culture
210

Opera and the Representation of Social Status
78
Bach Handel and the Worship of God
82
Concerts and the Public Sphere
85
The Secularisation of Society the Sacralisation of Music
89
The Romantic Revolution
91
Beethoven as Hero and Genius
98
Problems with the Public
101
Wagner and Bayreuth
104
The Invention of Classical Music
111
Jazz and Romanticism
114
Rock and Romanticism
117
PLACES AND SPACES FROM PALACE TO STADIUM
122
Concerts in Pubs and Palaces
131
Concert Halls and the Sacralisation of Music
134
Temples for Music
139
Two Ways of Elevating MusicBayreuth and Paris
147
The Triumph of Technology
224
LIBERATION NATION PEOPLE SEX
231
Rule Britannia? Aux Armes Citoyens
240
Liberation in Italy
264
Deutschland Deutschland uber Alles
272
From the Woods and Meadows of Bohemia
285
A Life for the Tsar
292
Race and Rebellion
300
Sex
311
CONCLUSION
325
Further Reading
343
Notes
353
Illustration Credits
401
Index
405
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Tim Blanning is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Cambridge and the author of The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815.

Bibliographic information