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5 - Romanticism, the Folk, and Musical Nationalisms

from Part II - Worlds

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 August 2021

Benedict Taylor
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

Musical Romanticism and nationalism are both concepts closely tied to the idea of ‘the folk’. This chapter considers the twisting and turning relationships in music between Romanticism, nationalism, and the folk. It treats first the origin of the concepts. Next it takes up the importance of music as a folk ‘language of nature’, and the effect of German musical hegemony during the nineteenth century in spurring different configurations of ‘national’ and ‘folk’ music. It also looks at the realities that complicate many Romantic claims about national music, such as the presence and contributions of ethnic minorities. The chapter argues that Romantic musical nationalism in music is ultimately a series of reception tropes, and summarises five key approaches. It concludes with a study of a single piece, Smetana’s The Moldau, to show how these different tropes can converge and play off each other.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Further Reading

Beckerman, Michael. ‘In Search of Czechness in Music’, 19th-Century Music, 10 (1986), 6173.Google Scholar
Bendix, Regina. In Search of Authenticity: The Formation of Folklore Studies (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997).Google Scholar
Bohlman, Philip V. Song Loves the Masses: Herder on Music and Nationalism (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2017).Google Scholar
Castro, Christi-Anne. Musical Renderings of the Philippine Nation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Curtis, Benjamin W. Music Makes the Nation: Nationalist Composers and Nation Building in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Amherst: Cambria, 2008).Google Scholar
Frolova-Walker, Marina. Russian Music and Nationalism: From Glinka to Stalin (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008).Google Scholar
Gelbart, Matthew. The Invention of ‘Folk Music’ and ‘Art Music’: Emerging Categories from Ossian to Wagner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).Google Scholar
Gelbart, Matthew. ‘“The Language of Nature”: Music as Historical Crucible for the Methodology of Folkloristics’, Ethnomusicology, 53/3 (2009), 363–95.Google Scholar
Riley, Matthew, and Smith, Anthony D. Nation and Classical Music: From Handel to Copland (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2016).Google Scholar
Shadle, Douglas. Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).Google Scholar
St. Pierre, Kelly. Bedřich Smetana: Myth, Music, and Propaganda (Rochester, New York: University of Rochester Press, 2017).Google Scholar
Taruskin, Richard. ‘Nationalism’, in Sadie, Stanley (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 29 vols. (London: Macmillan, 2001), vol. xvii, 689706.Google Scholar
Trumpener, Katie. Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
White, Harry, and Murphy, Michael (eds.). Musical Constructions of Nationalism: Essays on the History and Ideology of European Musical Culture 1800–1945 (Cork: Cork University Press, 2001).Google Scholar

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