Art, Education and Entertainment: The String Quintet in late Eighteenth-Century Vienna

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This dissertation explores the role of chamber music within Viennese enlightened theories of social and national education (Bildung). As such it confronts the apparent contradiction between music's status as a fine art and music's vibrant presence and vital role within the city's social calendar. Chapter 1 explores enlightened theories of art's role in education as part of the larger demands of forming a unified society, which troubled the European nations towards the end of the eighteenth century. Turning to the repertoire of the mostly unknown string quintets circulating in Vienna in the 1780s and 90s as a case study, Chapter 2 illustrates how an understanding of music as an essentially bildend (formative) social practice infiltrated the compositional make-up; I argue further that composers were writing within a culture that appreciated first and foremost music's socially educating function. Chapter 3 focuses on music's entertaining function, providing both social documentation and philosophical rationale for the claim that entertainment was an integral aspect of the process of Bildung. Chapter 4 assesses the relevance of musical arrangements for the chamber within music's status as art, illustrating that music's unique promise for sensual experience is as instrumental to music's artistic potential as its potential for active engagement. Chapter 5 documents the shift away from an art that gains its highest potential through its interactive nature to an art that inspires solitary contemplation and reverie. A brief epilogue outlines that this shift is in fact a political move that colonises the aesthetic experience of the individual.

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Enlightenment; Mozart; Bildung; Haydn; Salon; Onslow; arrangements


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dissertation or thesis

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