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The theatre of politics and the politics of theatre: music as representational culture in the twilight of the Holy Roman Empire

The theatre of politics and the politics of theatre: music as representational culture in the twilight of the Holy Roman Empire
The theatre of politics and the politics of theatre: music as representational culture in the twilight of the Holy Roman Empire
This thesis explores the political music of German-speaking lands in the waning years of the Holy Roman Empire (c.1775-1806). In a departure from studies that focus primarily on the music of the Habsburg territories (above all Vienna), my project examines institutions crucial to the political fabric of Central Europe to tell the musical story of the Holy Roman Empire. I frame my narrative within Joachim Whaley’s recent study of the Reich, which challenges the long-held assertion that the Empire was in a state of terminal decline after 1648, to reveal not only how individual sovereigns expressed allegiance to the Empire through music, but also how music represented the politics of the Holy Roman Empire.

The first chapter explores how music from across the Empire expressed through allegory, parallel history, and personation contemporary political figures and events in its final three decades. My next chapter investigates music in the city of the Reichstag (the Empire’s legislature). I reveal that in the face of cultural opposition the emperor’s representative to the Reichstag, the prince of Thurn und Taxis, abandoned his court theatre and reverted to older styles of outdoor spectacle to communicate his power as imperial representative. Subsequently, the third chapter explores the rise and fall of the Mainzer Nationaltheater, widely considered one of the Empire’s leading theatres. When French troops captured this magnificent residence city in 1792, the new form of government they imposed on Mainz could not support the musicians or the ensembles which had once prospered under the elector’s government. Finally, I turn to Frankfurt am Main and the imperial coronation of Leopold II. This chapter investigates the music of the Empire’s greatest and most enduring display of representational culture. In conclusion, I illustrate that the Holy Roman Empire was a state that identified itself as such through music. By shifting focus from the Habsburgs to the Holy Roman Empire, this thesis offers a new understanding of a familiar period of music history.
Glatthorn, Austin
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Glatthorn, Austin
e45d4feb-d7b2-4453-b78c-7fab2933b995
Irvine, Thomas
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Everist, Mark
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(2015) The theatre of politics and the politics of theatre: music as representational culture in the twilight of the Holy Roman Empire. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 400pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis explores the political music of German-speaking lands in the waning years of the Holy Roman Empire (c.1775-1806). In a departure from studies that focus primarily on the music of the Habsburg territories (above all Vienna), my project examines institutions crucial to the political fabric of Central Europe to tell the musical story of the Holy Roman Empire. I frame my narrative within Joachim Whaley’s recent study of the Reich, which challenges the long-held assertion that the Empire was in a state of terminal decline after 1648, to reveal not only how individual sovereigns expressed allegiance to the Empire through music, but also how music represented the politics of the Holy Roman Empire.

The first chapter explores how music from across the Empire expressed through allegory, parallel history, and personation contemporary political figures and events in its final three decades. My next chapter investigates music in the city of the Reichstag (the Empire’s legislature). I reveal that in the face of cultural opposition the emperor’s representative to the Reichstag, the prince of Thurn und Taxis, abandoned his court theatre and reverted to older styles of outdoor spectacle to communicate his power as imperial representative. Subsequently, the third chapter explores the rise and fall of the Mainzer Nationaltheater, widely considered one of the Empire’s leading theatres. When French troops captured this magnificent residence city in 1792, the new form of government they imposed on Mainz could not support the musicians or the ensembles which had once prospered under the elector’s government. Finally, I turn to Frankfurt am Main and the imperial coronation of Leopold II. This chapter investigates the music of the Empire’s greatest and most enduring display of representational culture. In conclusion, I illustrate that the Holy Roman Empire was a state that identified itself as such through music. By shifting focus from the Habsburgs to the Holy Roman Empire, this thesis offers a new understanding of a familiar period of music history.

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Published date: July 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Music

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Local EPrints ID: 397317
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397317
PURE UUID: 0693acfa-a4b6-4f80-bcad-5f57ffff3a9c

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Date deposited: 14 Jul 2016 12:54
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 18:40

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