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Rethinking American Music$
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Tara Browner and Thomas L. Riis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042324

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042324.001.0001

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Balance of Power

Balance of Power

Music as Art and Social Class in the Late Nineteenth Century

(p.7) 1 Balance of Power
Rethinking American Music

Karen Ahlquist

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses composers’ music—that is, music that demands a faithful adherence to detailed notation--in urban public settings in the late nineteenth century, among them formal performance series, music festivals, exhibitions, and outdoor “garden” concerts. Drawing examples from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Cincinnati, and Chicago, it shows Americans experimenting with strategies for musical dissemination that took audience response as an important consideration. Illustrating the relationship between social class and aesthetic perspectives in late-nineteenth-century American concert life, Ahlquist offers a potential model from the United States for the historical study of composers’ music throughout the Western world.

Keywords:   composers’ music, social class, aesthetic perspective, garden concerts, music festivals

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