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The Technological Priestess: The Piano Recital, Photography, and Clara Schumann

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 May 2023

April L. Prince*
Affiliation:
University of North Texas Email: April.Prince@unt.edu

Abstract

Musicologists often consider Clara Schumann to be one of the most influential figures in the establishment of the solo piano recital – a musical experience that encouraged the dominance of the serious music aesthetic. Schumann's connection to this ideal is perhaps most evident in her enshrinement as the priestess, a nineteenth-century title that honoured the interpretive power of her virtuosic performances. While her commitment to canonical values cannot be questioned, Schumann's piano virtuosity was also undeniably popular, incredibly physical and acutely tied to the century's rapidly changing musical and visual technologies.

Attention to the analytical and imaginative connections between these transformative technologies actively complicates the divine, dehumanized and mythological stature that has come to centre Schumann's historiography. Her mass-produced photographs, and especially her cartes-de-visite, could both compound her priestessness and stimulate unresolvable fissures within it. Aligned with recent scholarship that expands Schumann's virtuosity into the realms of the popular, photographs and other forms of mass media reveal the inherent flexibility of the priestess ideology and this mythology's (seemingly) easy inclusion of various ambiguous and sometimes contradictory ideals. In effect, photographs of Schumann could instigate a kind of exhilarating, cognitive dissonance in their viewers: seeing was not necessarily believing her as only priestess. Seeing could, in fact, mean imagining and reimagining Clara Schumann in all kinds of fantastical ways: ways that aligned her piano virtuosity with the commodified visual technology in an increasingly mechanized world, or ways that underscored her feminine sexuality and virtuosity as socially destabilizing or democratizing.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press

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References

1 Raykoff, Ivan, Dreams of Love: Playing the Romantic Pianist (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014): 102Google Scholar and 95. See also Stefaniak, Alexander, ‘Clara Schumann's Interiorities and the Cutting Edge of Popular Pianism’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 70/3 (2017): 697–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 Raykoff, Dreams of Love, 95.

3 Raykoff, Dreams of Love, 96.

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5 Clara Schumann waited until the 1870s to programme solo recitals. See Hamilton, Kenneth, ‘Creating the Solo Recital’, in After the Golden Age: Romanic Pianism and Modern Performance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008): 33–72Google Scholar.

6 Raykoff, Dreams of Love, 102.

7 See Stefaniak, Alexander, ‘Schumann's Early-Career Concert Vehicles: Transcendent Interiority and the Cutting Edge of Popular Pianism’, in Becoming Clara Schumann: Performance Strategies and Aesthetics in the Culture of the Musical Canon (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2021): 1–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

8 For an overview of the serious music aesthetic, questions of piano virtuosity and Clara Schumann's position within these constructs, see Gramit, David, ‘Performing Musical Culture: The Concert’, in Cultivating Music: The Aspirations, Interests, and Limits of German Musical Culture 1770–1848 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002): 125–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Stefaniak, Alexander, ‘Festivals of Virtuoso Priesthood: Collaborating with Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim’, in Schumann's Virtuosity: Criticism, Composition, and Performance in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016): 195–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Stefaniak, Alexander, ‘Clara Schumann and the Imagined Revelation of Musical Works’, Music & Letters 99/2 (2018): 194–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Weber, William, ‘Classical Music Achieves Hegemony: The Recital, Solo or Otherwise’, in The Great Transformation of Musical Taste: Concert Programming from Haydn to Brahms (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008): 245–51Google Scholar.

9 Pedroza, Ludim, ‘Music as Communitas: Franz Liszt, Clara Schumann, and the Musical Work’, Journal of Musicological Research 29/4 (2010): 314CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The title of priestess certainly mitigated the problematic femininity of Schumann's virtuosity. For a brief overview of this argument, see Prince, April L., ‘(Re)Considering the Priestess: Clara Schumann, Historiography, and the Visual’, Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture 21 (2017): 107–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 Both review excerpts were from Schumann's successful 1856 Viennese tour. Hanslick begins his oft-cited review with a celebration of Schumann's fidelity to the score and her connection to the Germanic masters: ‘She gives a perfect reproduction of each composition, having first understood it in its entirety and then studied it in the utmost detail’. Hanslick, Eduard, ‘Clara Schumann’ in Hanslick's Music Criticism, ed. trans., and Henry Pleasants (Toronto: General Publishing Company, 1950): 48Google Scholar. Zellner described her performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's Sonata op. 101 thusly: ‘The work belongs to the sibylline books that the lofty master left us from his late period. Our artist has unclasped the seal of the volume, opened the pages, and proclaimed the oracle's speech with wondrous clarity and fidelity’. Ultimately, Zellner and Hanslick imply that when listening to Clara Schumann, audiences ‘experience[d] the authentic intentions of composers and the defining truths of masterworks’; Stefaniak, Becoming Clara Schumann, 87.

11 Raykoff, Dreams of Love, 96.

12 Raykoff, Dreams of Love, 95. See also, Arved Mark Ashby, Absolute Music, Mechanical Reproductions (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010): 160.

13 Raykoff, Dreams of Love, 95. As Benjamin writes in his 1931 ‘Little History of Photography’, ‘It is all too tempting to blame [the decline of artistic appreciation], on a failure of contemporary sensibility. But one is brought up short by the way the understanding of great works was transformed at about the same time the techniques of reproduction were being developed’. Walter Benjamin, ‘Little History of Photography’, in The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media, ed. Michael W. Jennings, Brigid Doherty and Thomas Y. Leving, trans. Edmund Jephcott, Rodney Livingstone, Howard Eiland and Others (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008): 290.

14 Raykoff, Dreams of Love, 9.

15 For an overview of the theoretical discourses swirling around photographic resemblance, see Brevern, ‘Resemblance After Photography’, 1–22.

16 As Jan von Breven argues, ‘Photography faithfully reproduced objects just as they were in the moment of exposure, but that, in able hands, it could also produce a difference from reality as it was known. The unsettling experience with photography was that it sometimes showed the world in a manner very different from how one was used to perceiving it, while there could be no doubt that it was the world itself being captured’. Brevern, ‘Resemblance After Photography’, 16.

17 Richard Leppert, ‘Cultural Contradiction, Idolatry, and the Piano Virtuoso: Franz Liszt’, in Piano Roles: Three Hundred Years of Life with the Piano, ed. James Parakilas (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999): 255.

18 Leppert, ‘Cultural Contradiction’, 255.

19 Attention to Schumann's more complicated, nuanced virtuosity initiates more ambivalent understandings of her musicality, which align with Alexander Stefaniak's recent arguments. As he notes, ‘For [Robert Schumann], transcendent virtuosity was always an open question – not a straightforward category but an ideal that was subject to negotiation and reinterpretation’. Stefaniak, Schumann's Virtuosity, 7.

20 Stefaniak, Schumann's Virtuosity, 15.

21 Geoffrey Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, in Photography: Theoretical Snapshots, ed. J.J. Long, Andrea Noble and Edward Welch (London: Routledge, 2009): 81. In 1860, the typical rate for cartes in France was 30F for 25 carte with two poses, 50F for 50 cartes with three poses, and 70F for 100 cartes with four poses. In Britain, some of the highest quality celebrity cartes during the 1860 sold for around 1s6d. While primarily associated with the middle classes, access to the carte was truly widespread. As John Plunkett outlines, ‘The carte-de-visite had a distinctly egalitarian aesthetic. As the Reader put it in its edition of 9 August 1862, “Here there is no barrier of rank, no chancel end; the poorest carries his three inches of cardboard, and the richest can claim no more”’. John Plunkett, ‘Carte-de-Visite’ in Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, ed. John Hannavy (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2013): 276.

22 Eva Giloi, ‘“So Writes the Hand that Swings the Sword”: Autograph Hunting and Royal Charisma in the German Empire, 1861–1888’, in Constructing Charisma: Celebrity, Fame, and Power in Nineteenth-Century Europe, ed. Edward Benson and Eva Giloi (New York: Berghahn Books, 2013): 47.

23 The carte pushes Benjamin's theories to the extreme, given that the mode of production itself was based on multiples. There was no authentic original.

24 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 81. See also Rachel Teukolsky, ‘Cartomania: Sensation, Celebrity, and the Democratized Portrait’, Victorian Studies 57/3 (2015): 462–75.

25 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 94.

26 Giloi, ‘So Writes the Hand that Swings the Sword’, 47.

27 As Batchen continues, ‘The public rooms tended to be exotically decorated and offered a variety of painted backdrops and props for customers to choose. Compared to the earlier processes such as the daguerreotype, this vastly increased the degree of theatricality and control that the consumer had over his or her final image … As a consequence, the power of creation was transferred from the photographer, who was often no more than an operator behind a fixed camera, to the subject, who got to make all sorts of choices about how they wished to appear’. Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 82.

28 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 91.

29 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 94.

30 See Prince, ‘(Re)Considering the Priestess’, 107–40.

31 By deviancy, I attach Clara Schumann to charges of transgression that had the potential to define all women as such, but especially those performing publicly. Ruth-Ellen Boetcher Joeres makes this point explicit regarding nineteenth-century German women writers. “In the specific case of Germany, the struggle to assert and identify oneself as a woman seems historically to have been especially difficult … [and it has] more to do with the widespread dismissive and often negative view toward women who attempted to enter a realm in which they were generally not welcome … The situation was exacerbated by an ongoing problematic relationship between German women in general and the judicial system: women were essentially deprived of numbers of rights that would have acknowledged and permitted their autonomy; they were in fact legally grouped with the young, and occasionally even with the deviant’. Ruth-Ellen Boetcher Joeres, Respectability and Deviance: Nineteenth-Century German Women Writers and the Ambiguity of Representation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998): 9–10. When considering women in the performing arts, Robert Montemorra Marvin writes that ‘It was … common to singing actresses and speaking actresses that their authority, independence and power both repelled and attracted male spectators because of the threat posed to male hegemony, while the freedom from norms that these features suggested intrigued female spectators … .the theatrical display of the female body encouraged their objectification, commodification, and sexualization, making them alluring and seductive’. Roberta Montemorra Marvin, ‘Idealizing the Prima Donna in Mid-Victorian London’, in The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012): 23. As a publicly performing woman, Schumann inevitably challenged social norms. She also frequently shared the stage with some of the most prominent and important operatic performers of the era. The source material for the regulation of nineteenth-century femininity is copious. For a brief overview of materials that focus on the musical and performative, see also Daniel Chua, ‘On Women’ and ‘On Masculinity’, in Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999): 136–49; Tracy C. Davis, Actresses as Working Women (London: Routledge, 1991); Richard Leppert, ‘Sexual Identity, Death and the Family Piano’ and ‘Piano, Misogyny, and “The Kreutzer Sonata”’, in The Sight of Sound: Music, Representation, and the History of the Body (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993): 119–87; and Ruth Solie ‘“Girling” at the Parlor Piano’, in Music in Other Words: Victorian Conversations (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004): 85–117.

32 Ratchel Teukolsky, Picture World: Image, Aesthetics, and Victorian New Media (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020): 15.

33 For an overview of sensationalism in nineteenth-century novels see Andrew Radford, Victorian Sensation Fiction (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Andrew Maunder, ed., Varieties of Women's Sensation Fiction: 1855–1890: Volume 1, Sensationalism and the Sensation Debate (London: Pickering, 2004).

34 Teukolsky, ‘Cartomania’, 463. As Tukolsky writes, the images induced a physiological and erotic experience of female celebrity, one with which we are now very familiar: ‘While photography scholars have trained us to read the medium's transcriptions of reality with skepticism, Victorian critics often took a contrasting view, fixating upon photography's primal touch of light to an exposed surface. The mythical purity of that exposure … imparted to a photographed body an inexorable materiality, no matter how mediated the image itself might have been. Photography's new, haptic visuality inaugurated an eroticized celebrity culture organized around pictures of women's bodies, a connection that has come to be definitive in our own contemporary media culture‘. Teukolsky, Picture World, 217.

35 Teukolsky, ‘Cartomania’, 463.

36 Teukolsky, Picture World, 14. Teukolsky argues powerfully against the continual disparagement of these media: ‘For scholars trained in forms of aesthetic high culture, mass-cultural items or technologies are often consigned to a denigrated realm of “guilty pleasures”. This book takes a different view. I suggest that culture consumption does not take place away from the self, or beyond identity, merely in off-hours or apart from truly important matters. The very concept of ephemera, locating certain forms of culture in the margins, is incommensurate with its import in conjuring aspects of self and identity. We are often purposeful in choosing our mass-produced worlds, in whatever forms these materialize’. Ibid., 16.

37 Melanie Lowe, Pleasure and Meaning in the Classical Symphony (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007): 5. I rely on Lowe because of her willingness to embrace the fictive in historical writing. For additional discourse on nineteenth-century listening, see Thomas Christensen, ‘Four-Hand Piano Transcription and Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Musical Reception’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 52/ 2 (1999): 255–98; Mark Evan Bonds, Music as Thought: Listening to the Symphony in the Age of Beethoven (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006); and Leon Botstein, ‘Listening through Reading: Musical Literacy and the Concert Audience’, 19th-Century Music 16/2 (1992): 129–45.

38 Lowe, Pleasure and Meaning, 5.

39 Lowe, Pleasure and Meaning, 20.

40 Lowe, Pleasure and Meaning, 79.

41 Cartes provided much more specific details to women's bodies than other mediums, and ‘responses to carte portraiture dwelled upon the materiality of the image, reflecting the way that the imagery concentrated in itself many of the Victorian desires and anxieties surrounding embodiment’. Teukolsky, Picture World, 264–5.

42 Cara A. Finnegan, Making Photography Matter: A Viewer's History from the Civil War to the Great Depression (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015): 5.

43 Finnegan, Making Photography Matter, 6.

44 See also ‘Enlightening the Listening Subject’ in Lowe, Pleasure and Meaning, 70–98.

45 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 87.

46 See Gramit, ‘The Threat from Within: The Virtuoso’, in his Cultivating Music, 139–43.

47 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 90.

48 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 88: ‘Similar poses were endlessly repeated in photograph after photograph, as predictable as the rectangular format itself’.

49 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 90. In an extended denunciation, Benjamin argues ‘The accessories in such portraits, with the columns, balustrades and little oval tables, recall the time when one had to give the models points of support so they could remain steady during the long exposure … Next came the columns or the curtain. Even in the ’60s accomplished men protested against this junk … At that time arose the ateliers with their draperies and palms, goblins and easels, which stand so ambivalently between execution and representation, torture chamber and throne room’. Walter Benjamin, ‘A Short History of Photography’, in Classic Essays, ed. Alan Trachtenberg (New Haven: Leete's Island Books, 1980): 206.

50 For a broader discussion of nineteenth-century celebrity culture, see Francesca Vella, ‘Jenny Lind, Voice, Celebrity’, Music & Letters 98/2 (2017): 232–54 and Edward Benson and Eva Giloi, eds., Constructing Charisma.

51 There are very few photographs of Clara Schumann with a piano or sitting at the piano in active engagement.

52 See my alternative analysis of this image in Prince, ‘(Re)Considering the Priestess’, 136–8.

53 Leppert, The Sight of Sound, 95.

54 This image is a larger cabinet card.

55 See my analysis of Adolph von Menzel's drawing in Prince, ‘(Re)Considering the Priestess’, 130–36.

56 Jerrold Seigel, Modernity and Bourgeois Life: Society, Politics and Culture in England, France, and Germany Since 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012): 269.

57 Indeed, music critics and caricaturists frequently likened virtuoso pianists to literal musical machines. There are wonderful caricatures of Liszt as a steam engine and Thalberg as a performer with some eight arms and sprocket-like elbows. See Leppert, ‘Cultural Contradiction’, 272–8.

58 Leppert, ‘Cultural Contradiction’, 273.

59 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 88.

60 Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 92.

61 Teukolsky, ‘Cartomania’, 468.

62 Teukolsky, ‘Cartomania’, 472–3.

63 It is as almost if she was aware of the panoptical, class and gender disciplining possibilities of the camera itself. See Michael Foucault, ‘Panopticism’, in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Random House, 1991): 195–230. Her restrained facial expressions also speak to the import of physiognomic appeal. These ‘scientific’ ideas emphasized that facial features could reveal a person's morality, intelligence and general character.

64 This reading could be understood to essentialize or over-simplify the gendered aspects of this unique photograph, or implicitly suggest that all women photographers would have a more relaxed relationship with women sitters. While I am aware of these possible pitfalls, it is nevertheless fascinating to get a glimpse into what might have been a more exclusive, feminine photographic experience. This carte, then, might ask the viewer to imagine feminine behaviours and experiences that this unique studio could have welcomed.

65 Teukolsky, ‘Cartomania’, 465.

66 Teukolsky, ‘Cartomania’, 468.

67 For an image of one such photographer's shop window, see ‘Henry Taunt's shop in Oxford’, c. 1874–94 in Teukolsky, Picture World, 231.

68 As Giloi summarizes, ‘Nor was Wachenhusen unusually cynical here: the photographic journal Die Werkstatt und das Handwerkzeug des Photographen specifically advised photographers to “stimulate patronage” by seducing passersby with pictures of women who were “decent and yet alluring, sumptuously but not showily dressed, with a free but not too daring a pose”. … As a result, throughout the city, shop windows featured the “blooming, youthful princes and princesses of the royal house” – and Wilhelm I as well, of course – alongside the “celebrated stars of the theatre” and women of the demi-monde in “the newest, daring French fashions”’. Eva Giloi, Monarchy, Myth, and Material Culture in Germany 1750–1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011): 252.

69 Teukolsky, ‘Cartomania’, 465.

70 As Stefaniak notes, ‘The Rhine Festival centered on canonic composers and repertoire … This reach for cultural prestige mingled with festive socializing and recreation’. Stefaniak, Schumann's Virtuosity, 204.

71 Even though these festivals centred around canonical German composers and repertoire, these events inevitably featured a convivial, joyful experience. In this performing space Clara Schumann was celebrated with mass applause while performing virtuosic showpieces. In other words, these festivals revealed that ‘Clara was not the austere medium Liszt described. Rather, she provided a charismatic conduit from her husband's genius to the applause of a wide audience’. Stefaniak, Schumann's Virtuosity, 204–5.

72 The London-based Elliot & Fry photographic studio was founded in 1863 by Joseph John Elliot and Clarence Edmund Fry. Figures 10 and 11 show two pages from an Elliot & Fry sample book, which contains a total of 27 pages of composite photographs. In its entirety, the sample book holds a total of 1,304 thumbnail portraits of sitters that include royalty, politicians, aristocratic ladies and courtesans, clergymen, writers, scientists, doctors, historians, philanthropists, actors and actresses and various musical celebrities. Sample books were used for the reordering of prints by photographic print sellers.

73 For detailed information on the sitters in these images, see Images NPGAx139919 and NPGAx139911 in ‘Photographs Collection’, The National Portrait Gallery, London, www.npg.org.uk.

74 See Audrey Linkman, The Victorians: Photographic Portraits (London: Tauris Parke Books, 1993): 35–7.

75 Giloi, Monarchy, Myth and Material Culture, 253.

76 This section is named after Solie's pioneering essay, which examines the multi-faceted experiences of the domestic piano. I have constructed the Fräulein from an amalgam of scholarship on women at the piano. See Ruth Solie, ‘“Girling” at the Parlor Piano’, 85–117. See also Boetcher Joeres, Respectability and Deviance.

77 See Leppert, ‘Sexual Identity, Death and the Family Piano’, 119–12; Chua, Absolute Music, 126; and Solie, ‘Girling’, 116.

78 See Reinhard Kopiez, Andreas C. Lehmann and Janina Klassen, ‘Clara Schumann's Collection of Playbills: A Historiometric Analysis of Life-Span Development, Mobility, and Repertoire Canonization’, Poetics 37/1 (2009): 50–73.

79 The programme for 7 November 1872 is listed here: Part I: 1) Gluck, Overture to ‘Iphigenia in Aulius’; 2) Handel, Aria from Acis und Galatea; 3) Max Bruch, Römische Leichenfeier for Choir and Orchestra; 4) R. Schumann, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor; 5) R. Schumann, ‘Die Löwenbraut’; 6) Chopin, Nocturne in B major, Op. 62; 7) Felix Mendelssohn, Scherzo from Sommernachtstraum (arr. by Mendelssohn); 8) Schubert: ‘Der Musensohn’ and ‘Der Schiffer’; Part II: 1) Haydn, Oxford Symphony in G major. For a listing of Schumann's German concerts see April L. Prince, ‘Appendix’ in ‘Die anmutreichen, unschuldsvollen Herrin: Clara Schumann's Public Personas’, (PhD diss., University of Texas at Austin, 2009).

80 ‘The finale contains the most substantial expanse of post classically textured, brilliant passagework in Robert's output’. Stefaniak, Schumann's Virtuosity, 193.

81 Solie, ‘“Girling” at the Parlor Piano’, 11.

82 Schumann played concerts in Vienna on 20, 24 and 26 November and 3 December 1872.

83 See Figure 10, image numbers 1107, 1108 and 1109.

84 Thomas Synofzik and Jochen Voigt, Aus Clra Schumanns Photoalben: Photographisce Cartes de Visite aus der Sammlung des Robert-Schumann-Hauses Zwickau (Chemnitz: Mobilis, 2006): 86.

85 Leppert, The Sight of Sound, 158.

86 To be sure, ‘Subversive ideas can emerge in the most unthreatening of individuals’. Boetcher Joeres, Deviance and Respectability, 117–18.

87 Carl Czerny, Czerny's Letters to Young Ladies on the Art of Playing the Piano Forte (Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co.: 1870): 28.

88 See Goertzen, Valerie, ‘Clara Wieck Schumann's Improvisations and Her “Mosaics” of Small Forms’, in Beyond Notes: Improvisation in Western Music in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, ed., Rudolf Rasch (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011): 153–62Google Scholar.

89 Boetcher Joeres, Respectability and Deviance, 90.

90 Clara Wieck was often described as a skilled improvisor, which distinguished her from other child prodigies. While she was less known for ‘freestanding’ improvisation, she was celebrated for her use of improvisation as a form of musical transition and introduction. Stefaniak, Schumann's Virtuosity, 179.

91 Christensen, ‘Four Hand Piano Transcription’, 457.

92 As Solie outlines: ‘In the German-speaking world a teenage girl was familiarly known as a Backfish – a baked fish or, perhaps, a fish suitable for baking – in any event, a dish, and one waiting for consumption … in diaries and memoirs women describe this time as unhappy and tense; some of them bitterly accuse society of treating them like commodities, whose market value would decrease steeply if left on the shelf for too long. Others describe a protracted sense of emotional upheaval, a feeling that life was on hold and an intense reliance upon the intimacy that their pianos offered them as ways of killing time while they waited’. Solie, ‘“Girling” at the Parlor Piano’, 97.

93 See Solie, ‘“Girling” at the Parlor Piano’, 114–17. As Leppert notes, ‘The function of music in the lives of Victorians, especially its relation to desire, eroticism and sexuality, was attended to with extraordinary self-consciousness’. Leppert, Sight of Sound, 155–6.

94 See Perrot, Michelle, ed., From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War, vol. IV of A History of Private Life (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1990): 533Google Scholar.

95 E. Marlitt's ‘narration of the trials and difficulties and ultimate triumph of the second wife appear in serialized form in Die Gartenlaube in the first twenty-one issues of 1874. According to one of the author's early biographers, Die Gartenlaube had at that point approximately 325,000 subscribers … Die zweite Frau was certainly read by “Millonen”’. The book version was also published in 1874. Boetcher Joeres, Respectability and Deviance, 229. For an analysis of the work's sexual passion, see Ibid., 228–46.

96 Sand, George, Consuelo, A Romance of Venice (New York: A.L. Burt Company: 1900–1909), 1Google Scholar.

97 A recognized ‘danger’ of piano playing was that ‘girls were wasting time at the piano, applying themselves to “frivolous” accomplishments’. Solie, ‘“Girling” at the Parlor Piano’, 114.

98 Solie, ‘“Girling” at the Parlor Piano’, 105.

99 ‘Humor and inventive play were an important aspect of the carte-de-visite experience’. See Batchen, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life’, 91.

100 As Boetcher Joeres notes, “Deviance in any case, would be indicated were the characteristics of submissiveness, modesty and domesticity in some way ignored. And women who wrote and published – who presented themselves publicly – obviously were viewed as neither modest nor submissive”. Boetcher Joeres, Respectability and Deviance, 4.

101 Solie, ‘“Girling” at the Parlor Piano’, 88–97.

102 Solie, ‘“Girling” at the Parlor Piano’, 95.

103 See Kowar, Helmut, ‘Zum Fragment eines Walzers, gespielt von Johannes Brahms’, in Brahms-Kongress Wien 1983: Kongressbericht, ed. Antonicek, Susanne and Biba., Otto (Tutzing: Schneider, 1988): 281–90Google Scholar. The Fellingers were close friends of both Clara Schumann and Brahms, and Marie Fellinger was a prolific amateur photographer.

104 Garner, Gretchen, ‘Photography and Society in the 20th Century’, in Focal Encyclopedia of Photography: Digital Imaging, Theory and Applications, History, and Science, ed. R., Michael Peres, 4th edn (Oxford: Focal Press, 2007): 188Google Scholar. See also Mary Warner Marien, ‘Women Behind the Camera: Women as Amateurs’, in Photography: A Cultural History (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002): 157.

105 The Fellingers had a well-established reputation as important and influential musical hosts. See Hamilton, Katy and Loges, Natasha, ed., Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall: Between Private and Public Performance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014): 16–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar.