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date: 29 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Traditional accounts of concert series have tended to emphasize the permanence and longevity of major institutions such as symphony orchestras and chamber-music societies, a status emphasized by ever more impressive concert halls in cities across the world. Yet in reality concert life was in a constant state of flux, the site of intense intellectual debate about the role of music in society. The rise of a popular concert culture, from cheap promenade concerts to massed amateur choir festivals, led to the familiar polarization of highbrow and lowbrow. But a broader understanding of the diverse venues at which different repertoires intermingled encourages a reassessment of this simple binary divide, recognizing how issues of class, commercialism and nationality, as well as attitudes towards new and early music, resist such neat alignments. The chapter advocates a more nuanced approach that more truly reflects the experience of audiences and musicians across the nineteenth century.

Keywords: concert, canon, idealism, listening, highbrow/lowbrow, symphony orchestra

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