Music and Musical Culture in Vienna around 1900

Markus GrasslFebruary 7 - 184 ECTS

 

The musical culture in Vienna around 1900 is widely renowned for its exceptional creativity and innovative capacity. The protagonists and the achievements commonly associated with this vital period in music history – e.g. Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schönberg and his „Second Viennese School“ – for a long time also stood at the center of musicological research on 20th century music. In recent years, however, the perspective has been broadened substantially, mainly due to the impact of the intensified work on Viennese modernism in other humanities and in cultural studies. As a consequence, the musical culture in fin-de-siècle Vienna became visible as a complex phenomenon characterized by radical shifts as well as continuities with the past and even by contradictory tendencies.

 

The course will try to address the topic from several vantage points:

  • The institutions, organizations and spaces of musical life, in relation to the diverse strata of the musical public and to the pertinent political and social conditions.
  • The wide array of musical styles and repertoires present at that time, resulting not only from the contemporary compositional activities (which were multi-layered in itself, ranging from “radical modernism” to popular music), but also from the ongoing relevance of earlier music.
  • The diverse aesthetical positions and general views on music, comprising newly developed scientific approaches as well as metaphysical idealizations and even ideologically conditioned functionalizations.
  • The interrelations between the developments in music and in other intellectual and artistic fields, leading to the question, how music can or has to be integrated into a comprehensive concept of “Viennese Modernism” around 1900.

Requirements: Regular attendance and participation in class discussions constitute 20%, reading (including a written abstract) 30% and a written final exam 50% of the grade.