The Nineteenth-Century Concert Series: a Contested Space

McVeigh, Simon. 2020. The Nineteenth-Century Concert Series: a Contested Space. In: Paul Watt; Sarah Collins and Michael Allis, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190616922 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Traditional accounts of concert series have tended to emphasise the permanence and longevity of major institutions such as symphony orchestras and chamber-music societies, a status emphasized by ever more impressive concert halls in cities across the world. Yet in reality concert life was in a constant state of flux, the site of intense intellectual debate about the role of music in society. The rise of a popular concert culture, from cheap promenade concerts to massed amateur choir festivals, led eventually to the familiar polarization of highbrow and lowbrow. But a broader understanding of the diverse venues at which different repertoires intermingled encourages a reassessment of this simple binary divide, recognizing how issues of class, commercialism and nationality, and attitudes towards new and early music, resist such neat alignments. The chapter advocates a more nuanced approach that more truly reflects the experience of audiences and musicians across the nineteenth century.

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Book Section


concert, canon, idealism, listening, highbrow/lowbrow, symphony orchestra

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1 October 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

28 Sep 2018 12:18

Last Modified:

22 Dec 2020 13:05


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