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Haydn and the Enlightenment The Late Symphonies and their Audience

by David P. (Associate Professor of Music, Dahlhousie University, Halifax) Schroeder

Part of the Clarendon Paperbacks Series

Haydn and the Enlightenment The Late Symphonies and their Audience Synopsis

Schroeder here sets out to challenge the widely held view of Haydn as an inspired instrumental musician who composed in isolation from 18th-century enlightened thinking. By means of both documentary and musical investigation the author seeks instead to present him as a culturally and politically sensitive representative of the Age of Englightement. Haydn's awareness of contemporary aesthetic opinion and the tenets of the Enlightenment is reflected by the transformations in his own compositional style, and there are fascinating implications here for our understanding of instrumental music from the second half of the eighteenth century. Of fundamental importance in this survey is Haydn's relationship with his audience, which, it is argued, had a significant bearing on the nature of the works. The author suggests that Haydn was well acquainted with the contemporary view that works of literature or music should serve a moral function and he points to numerous instances in the late symphonies where this end is effectively pursued. For the eighteenth century, however, morality did not imply dullness; indeed, its goals were best served through wit, humour, popular appeal, and beauty, as well as through intellectual challenge.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780198166825
Publication date: 1st October 1997
Author: David P. (Associate Professor of Music, Dahlhousie University, Halifax) Schroeder
Publisher: Clarendon Press an imprint of Oxford University Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 230 pages
Categories: Individual composers & musicians, specific bands & groups,

About David P. (Associate Professor of Music, Dahlhousie University, Halifax) Schroeder

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