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Strauss’s successful tenure in Berlin (1898–1918) is closely tied to the cultural environment of the German capital, where the local artistic sphere provided ideas, contacts, and opportunities that enabled him to develop professionally. This chapter explores the rise of Berlin during the nineteenth century as a key urban center, while documenting the city’s cultural panorama. It discusses the city’s most important musical institutions and summarizes characteristic aspects of its musical life, examining Strauss’s role in the broader art scene through his personal links and institutional affiliations. As modernist tendencies at the turn of the century conflicted with traditional ideals, Strauss emerged as a figure who, as a servant of the court but also a modernist, was able to reconcile these conflicting views.
The introduction begins with an overview of the difficulties that countries emerging from civil war face in establishing a stable peace on the one hand and democracy on the other. Focusing on the complications that security concerns pose for achieving both of these goals, the chapter outlines power-sharing institutions’ capacity to stabilize the peace and lay the groundwork for democracy by addressing rival actors’ apprehensions. It then engages with the critique that there exists a trade-off between security and democracy as well as the claim that power-sharing arrangements inhibit the development of democracy. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the analytical tools used to test our argument, provides an overview of the book’s goals, and outlines the plan of the book.
Operettas and their creation have long been considered a system of standardized production. This chapter examines the ‘operetta industry’ as it developed in Vienna around 1900 with a focus on theatrical production practice and the ways it shaped the genre’s artistic development. Sources include librettos, periodicals, archival sources and Operettenkönige, a backstage operetta novel of unknown authorship, published in 1911. Vienna’s operetta circle was a self-contained, vertically integrated system which controlled all aspects of operetta composition and production, from the mentorship of young composers to press reception and the publication and export of successful works. Critics saw this regulation as an impediment to artistic innovation, but to insiders the high level of control was necessary to set genre conventions. For them, innovation belonged in the small-scale, self-conscious manipulation of these norms. While lucrative and popular, the industry did not often easily respond to large-scale change, and eventually became so highly leveraged that a single unsuccessful season could put a major theatre out of business. As operetta declined in favour of the revue and film, the industry disintegrated.
Chapter 5 traces the evidence for the practice of astrometeorology by scholars and professionals in the service of the European elite. This phenomenon faced criticism from those who feared the rise of judicial astrology and the associated threat of demonic intervention. The chapter analyses the level of meteorological knowledge displayed by scholars such as William of Conches, adviser to Geoffrey of Anjou. William knew works attributed to Masha’allah as well as Seneca, and deployed the new, scientific terminology that spread in the twelfth century. A key point is that works like William’s depict secular rulers as keenly interested in understanding and predicting the weather. From this the chapter moves on to the more advanced astrometeorological teachings of Abraham Ibn Ezra, a Jewish scholar from al Andalus who travelled across Italy and Spain. One of his innovations was to provide tables of mathematical values to be applied to astrometeorological configurations, making forecasting much simpler. This was to be followed by others in the thirteenth century. The chapter ends with comment on the scarcity of surviving twelfth-century copies of these works.
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