Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-b2xwp Total loading time: 0.527 Render date: 2022-09-28T18:22:13.099Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

2 - Music of a century: museum culture and the politics of subsidy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2008

Nicholas Cook
Royal Holloway, University of London
Anthony Pople
University of Nottingham
Get access


The predicament: a musical culture at the margins

From the perspective of the first decade of the current century, the career of high-art concert music during the twentieth century is not a story with a happy end. A significant number of contemporary participants in the world of so-called classical music, particularly journalists, look back at the twentieth century as an era of deepening gloom and decay. The last century, it is argued, bequeathed to the next an unresolved and deepening crisis. The traditions of instrumental and vocal music cultivated in the public sphere since 1750 gradually lost their appeal and a significant hold on the public imagination. Despite striking developments in the transmission of music by electronic means throughout the twentieth century (thereby ensuring music’s wide accessibility), classical music moved to the periphery of culture and politics. In particular, new music for the concert stage commanded less attention during the second half of the century than at any time in the previous two hundred years. The suggestion made by Carl Dahlhaus in 1972 that the Mahler revival of the 1960s might function as a bridge between the traditions of the nineteenth century and the avant-garde of the twentieth seems, in retrospect, not to have been prescient. The embrace of Mahler coincided with a shift away from modernism. The accessible postmodernism of Philip Glass, Louis Andriessen, and Arvo Pärt has not succeeded in creating a resurgence of wide audience interest in new music, the brief success of Henryk Górecki’s 1976 Third Symphony (Symphony of Sorrowful Sounds) notwithstanding.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Babbitt, Milton. Essay for the magazine High Fidelity (1958) entitled (by the editor) ‘Who Cares if You Listen’, reprinted in Strunk, Oliver (ed.), Source Readings in Music History, rev. edn, New York, 1998.Google Scholar
Bailey, Colin B. (ed.). Gustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making, New York, 2001.Google Scholar
Baumol, William J. and Bowen, William G.. The Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma, Cambridge, MA, 1968.Google Scholar
Blaukopf, Herta and Blaukopf, Kurt, Die Wiener Philharmoniker, Vienna, 1986 –20.
Blaukopf, Herta and Blaukopf, Kurt. Die Wiener Philharmoniker, Vienna, 1986.Google Scholar
Blaukopf, Kurt. Musical Life in a Changing Society (tr. Martinelli, David), Portland, 1992.Google Scholar
Botstein, Leon. ‘Hearing is Seeing: Thoughts on the History of Music and the Imagination’, Musical Quarterly 79 (1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Botstein, Leon. ‘Music and Freedom: A Polemical History’, in The Paradoxes of Unintended Consequences, Budapest, 2000.Google Scholar
Burckhardt, Max. Führer durch die Konzertmusik, Berlin, 1909/1918.Google Scholar
Copland, Aaron and Perlis, Vivian. Copland: 1900 Through 1942, New York, 1984.Google Scholar
Crawford, Richard. America’s Musical Life: A History, New York, 2001.Google Scholar
Dahlhaus, Carl, ‘Die rätselhafte Popularität Gustav Mahlers. Zufluchtvorder Moderne oder der Anfangder Neuen Musik?’, in Metzger, Heinz-Klaus and Riehn, Rainer (eds.), Gustav Mahler.Durchgesetzt?, Munich, 1999 –7.Google Scholar
Davis, Ronald L.A History of Music in American Life, Vol. II: The Gilded Years 1865–1920, Huntington, 1980.Google Scholar
Dümling, Albrecht and Girth, Peter. Entartete Musik: Eine Kommentierte Rekonstruktion, Düsseldorf, 1988.Google Scholar
Eisenman, Stephen F.Nineteenth-Century Art: A Critical History, London, 1994.Google Scholar
Engel, Hans. Musik und Gesellschaft: Bausteine zu einer Musiksoziologie, Berlin, 1960.Google Scholar
Forte, Allen. Listening to Classical American Popular Songs, New Haven, 2001.Google Scholar
Fulcher, Jane F.French Cultural Politics and Music From the Dreyfus Affair to the First World War, Oxford, 1999.Google Scholar
Fulcher, Jane F.The Nation’s Image: French Grand Opera as Politics and Politicized Art, Cambridge, 1987.Google Scholar
Gann, Kyle. American Music in the Twentieth Century, New York, 1997.Google Scholar
Gann, Kyle. ‘Death Wish’, The Village Voice, 10 January 2001.Google Scholar
Gelatt, Roland. The Fabulous Phonograph: 1877–1977, New York, 1977.Google Scholar
Goldin, Milton. The Music Merchants, London, 1965.Google Scholar
Griffiths, Paul. Modern Music and After: Directions since 1945, Oxford, 1995.Google Scholar
Hakobian, Levon. Music of the Soviet Age, 1917–1987, Stockholm, 1998.Google Scholar
Heller, Friedrich C. and Revers, Peter. Das Wiener Konzerthaus: Geschichte und Bedeutung, 1913–1983, Vienna, 1983.Google Scholar
Helms, Hans G.Ökonomische Bedingungen der Musikalischen Produktion (1971/1972)’, in Musik zwischen Geschäft und Unwahrheit, Munich, 2001.Google Scholar
Hitchcock, H. Wiley with Gann, Kyle. Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction (4th edn), Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2000.Google Scholar
Horowitz, Joseph. Understanding Toscanini: How He Became an American Culture-God and Helped Create a New Audience for Old Music, New York, 1987.Google Scholar
Howland, Kennedy William. Recorded Music in American Life: The Phonograph and Popular Memory 1890–1945, New York, 1999.Google Scholar
James, Cambell Gavin. ‘A Higher Mission Than Merely to Please the Ear: Music and Social Reform in America 1900–1925’, Musical Quarterly 84 (2000).Google Scholar
Johnson, Stephen. ‘Larger than Live’, Guardian, 19 January 2001.Google Scholar
Kater, Michael H.The Twisted Muse: Musicians and their Music in the Third Reich, Oxford, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kenyon, Nicholas (ed.). Authenticity and Early Music, Oxford, 1988.Google Scholar
Kretzschmar, Hermann. Führer durch den Konzertsaal, Leipzig, 1887.Google Scholar
Lawson, Colin and Stowell, Robin. The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction, Cambridge, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lefkowitz, Horowitz Helen. Culture and the City: Cultural Philanthropy in Chicago from the 1880s to 1917, Lexington, 1976.Google Scholar
Mann, Thomas. Death in Venice and Other Stories (tr. Lowe-Porter, H. T.), London, 1991.Google Scholar
McVeigh, Simon. Concert Life in London from Mozart to Haydn, Cambridge, 1993.Google Scholar
Moser, Andreas and Nösselt, Hans Joachim. Geschichte des Violinspiels, Vol. II, Tutzing, 1967.Google Scholar
Mueller, John H.The American Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington, 1951.Google Scholar
Niessen, Carl. Die deutsche Oper der Gegenwart, Regensburg, 1944.Google Scholar
Oja, Carol J.Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s, New York, 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Philip, Robert. Early Recordings and Musical Style: Changing Tastes in Instrumental Performance, 1900–1950, Cambridge, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Preussner, Eberhard. ‘Ausblick’, in Die bürgerliche Musikkultur, Hamburg, 1935.Google Scholar
Prieberg, Fred K.Musik im NS Staat, Frankfurt, 1982.Google Scholar
Rosen, Charles. ‘The Future of Music’, New York Review of Books 48/20 (2001).Google Scholar
Salmen, Walter. Das Konzert: Eine Kulturgeschichte, Munich, 1988.Google Scholar
Westerman, Gerhart. Knauers Konzertführer, Munich, 1951.Google Scholar
Wilson, Elizabeth. Shostakovich: A Life Remembered, Princeton, 1994.Google Scholar
Cited by

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats