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date: 05 July 2022

Cosmopolitanism and Music in the Nineteenth Century

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores cosmopolitanism during the nineteenth century, not merely as a concept intertwined with the nation-state, but rather as an experience shaped by shared perceptions of the world and shared views of modernity. It discusses the potential of the concept of a cosmopolitan cultural network during the nineteenth century, within and beyond Europe, to steer music historiography and critique away from a focus on issues of national identity and nationalistic music aesthetics. It argues that cosmopolitans from the margins of Europe expanded on European musics’ many aesthetic possibilities, while they problematized boundaries between local and universal, between originals and copies, between margins and centers, and ultimately between the European and the non-European.

Keywords: cosmopolitanism, Europe, nineteenth century, nationalism, identity, aesthetics, modernity, music historiography, Enlightenment, Alberto Nepomuceno

The proprietor of stock is probably a citizen of the world and is not necessarily attached to any particular country.

—Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)

When steam power will be perfected, when, together with telegraphy and railways, it will have made distances disappear, it will not only be commodities which travel, but also ideas which will have wings; when different countries, in daily relations, tend towards the unity of peoples, how will you be able to revive the old mode of separation?

—Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, Mémoires d’autre-tombe (1841)

Some claim that the world is gradually becoming united, that it will grow into a brotherly community as distances shrink and ideas are transmitted through the air. Alas, you must not believe that men can be united in this way.

—Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

Exploring Cosmopolitanism in the Nineteenth Century

As a concept of world politics and human rights, cosmopolitanism has a history going back to the Greek Stoics, who envisioned the cosmopolitan as a “citizen of the world,” free to cross borders and with aspirations toward shared morals and legal rights. This cosmopolitan ideal became crucial in the shaping of European Enlightenment thought during the eighteenth century, serving to support Immanuel Kant’s call for free republics that together could sustain global peace, as well as Johann Gottfried Herder’s acknowledgment of the world’s cultural plurality.1 Enlightenment cosmopolitanism, with its utopian notions of universal freedom and commitment to human hospitality, endured through the nineteenth century, but eventually was put to the test as the emergence of the nation-state and the expanding forces of global capitalism led to new sociopolitical models and philosophical ideals. Still, Enlightenment cosmopolitanism, and its relationships and tensions with the nation-state and the politics of nationalism, became an essential part of nineteenth-century Europe’s intellectual and political understanding of itself and its role in a world increasingly connected by international trade; scientific and technological advances; faster communications and travel; and the circulation of information, ideas, and cultural goods. As Gerard Delanty notes, one should consider the forces of both cosmopolitanism and nationalism as essential parts of “the paradox of modernity,” a paradox that survived the long nineteenth century and that persists to this day disguised in the rhetoric of local/global dualities.2

In recent decades the concept of cosmopolitanism has been revived as a promising tool in the exploration and theorizing of the socioeconomic, political, and cultural aspects of our contemporary world. Understood as a result of various globalizing processes and broadly defined as “a willingness to engage with the Other” and “an ability to navigate various cultural contexts,”3 cosmopolitanism did not make a comeback without receiving its share of criticism. Scholars were quick to point out that such broad definitions show cosmopolitans’ paradoxical inclination toward difference and highlight how evocations of cosmopolitanism can conceal rather than reject or overcome sociocultural hierarchies.4 But while defining cosmopolitanism continues to be a contested issue, the return of the concept to the social sciences has inspired novel studies that transcend understandings of culture as static and locally bound, confront tropes of identity in their uncomplicated associations with human behavior, and contemplate ideals of universality in a fresh light. In a new humanistic guise, cosmopolitanism has been touted as “the idea that all human beings, regardless of their political affiliation, do (or at least can) belong to a single community, and that this community should be cultivated.”5 This community has been explored in various ways, be they political institutions, moral norms, or shared markets, as well as forms of cultural and artistic expressions; the latter inform my use of the term cosmopolitanism in this article.

The “new” cosmopolitanism has enabled critical reflections on the limiting views of culture as constructed historically and politically in unequivocal and autonomous connections to local groups, localized communities, and/or nation-states, and has questioned cultural bonds assumed to be present by naturalized connections resulting from citizenship or place of birth. Jeremy Waldron points out that one’s “culture” cannot be understood in the same light as one’s “identity” as it is enunciated through one’s sex or one’s race. Rather, culture should be considered a negotiable process of engagement and of disengagement to one’s community social structure and order, a process that is always open to new modes of interaction and negotiation. Waldron calls into question some of the self-conscious posturing often associated with nationhood and points to a cosmopolitan ideal in which “shared ways of life do not need to be restricted to a geographical area (although they can be), but are shaped by social practices, feelings of exclusion and belonging developed over time, and many other feelings that pertain to human experiences and their understandings of the world.”6 Assuming that an uncontaminated single culture is actually an anomaly, Waldron further notes that “one culture does not need to be clearly and importantly different from another, either in its appearance to an outsider or in the consciousness of its practitioners, in order to be the culture that it is.” Consequentially, for the cultural analyst what should count “is not cultural distinctiveness … but similarities and patterns of integration, historically constructed and shared among spaces.” Cosmopolitanism can thus be understood as a flexible process of engagement that cannot coexist with historicized and politicized notions of homogeneous, naturalized, and static individual or collective cultural identities.7

Waldron’s view of cosmopolitanism as negotiated, shared spaces of cultural belonging can assist us in rethinking some of the main tenets of music scholarship, both in the musicological and ethnomusicological domains, inasmuch as they are constructed, directly or indirectly, on the basis of nation/culture correlations. Specifically, the concept of cosmopolitanism as shared spaces can offer fresh insights into the disciplinary rigor of music authorship and cultural ownership and, most important, allows for a critique of social meaning and aesthetic values that rests on assumptions of uniqueness and originality supposedly associated with locality, one’s nation, and one’s national identity. Cosmopolitanism can lead us to questions of how music’s flow in time and space has allowed for agency in the building of and reflection on shared cultural spaces, rather than on music’s role to construct and delimit geographical and cultural boundaries; as such, it invites us to examine modes of musical expression and aesthetic values that are nonexclusive, flexible, and unlimited. The cosmopolitan lens leads us to critical explorations and the questioning of borders—of culture attachments, identities, and aesthetic stances—to suggest that shared spaces of cultural belonging allow for alternative thinking, imaginations beyond the local, and multifaced and multidirectional artistic creativity.8

Exploring the cosmopolitan dimension of musical practices as a historical project poses several challenges, however. The first lies in the usual focus on cosmopolitanism as a contemporary phenomenon, on “newness” as the main site for analysis, and the consequent understanding of past cultures and cultural connections as static and pure. But as scholars start to delve into the historical dimensions of cosmopolitanism, tracing the concept back through millennia-old trends in religion, empire, trade, and mobility, it becomes clear that it is exactly cosmopolitanism’s long history that makes it an attractive tool for cultural and musical analysis and interpretation. For cosmopolitanism provides its own historical critique and allows for explorations of both its limitations and its potential as a concept.9 One should keep in mind, however, that even if definitions and uses of the term cosmopolitanism can be compared throughout history, their historical processes are different. People in the nineteenth century experiencing the growing power of nation-states, the various conflicts within and beyond Europe, the hunger for colonial power, and the drastic changes brought about by economic and cultural connections beyond the local could only speculate, positively or negatively, about the future. They did not live through the trauma of world wars and the many nationalistic agendas that erupted during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Today one may be more accepting of cosmopolitanism as a tool to reflect on the nation in positive, if somewhat utopian, ways. But when looked at as a historical experience and practice, awareness of the potentials of cosmopolitanism as a sociopolitical tool and as a cultural practice is less straightforward.

The second challenge involves exploring cosmopolitanism specifically in the nineteenth century, for the period has been predominantly associated with the declining of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism and with a teleological account of the nation-state and nationalism. The latter, cogently articulated by historian Friedrich Meinecke in 1907 in regard to intellectual and political thought in Germany, continues to play a dominant role in twentieth-century music scholarship, which privileges nineteenth-century Europe, and Germany in particular, as a site for investigation of music’s role in articulating unique national musical cultures that eventually become historically meaningful and aesthetically powerful.10 The challenge of contemplating cosmopolitanism amid such a nation-centric line of thought is heightened by the fact that music as a topic of scholarly interest, both in the musicological and ethnomusicological domains, emerged in Europe exactly during the time of the strengthening of the nation-state and the growing power of German intellectuals in considering Europe as a model of the world. As a result, music historiography abounds with the period’s own historical bias and nation-centric filters, which privilege music’s role in representing the nation and enforcing various strains of nationalisms, rather than music’s association with larger “patterns of integration, historically constructed and shared among spaces,” as Waldron suggests. Thus, approaching cosmopolitanism as a nineteenth-century experience and practice associated with European music involves not only reconsidering the understanding of the period solely as the “age of nationalism,” but also questioning established modes of investigation. It requires a move from a “methodological nationalism” to a “methodological cosmopolitanism,” an epistemological turn that confronts the nationally centered ontology dominating scholarly investigations of music during the period.11

The third challenge lies in confronting cosmopolitanism’s uncosmopolitan roots, as a concept tied to universalist ideals and European-led globalization, colonialism, and imperialism.12 These tenets of cosmopolitanism, although quite in accord with Enlightenment thought, have been countered by recent anthropological studies showing that cosmopolitan ideals are not, and never have been, a privilege of “Westerners” and that concepts of universalism, both in its political force and a self-conscious identification, traverse various historical and cultural contexts.13 Considering the pervasiveness of cosmopolitan visions of humanity throughout history, Nikos Papastergiadis has noted that “universalism is both a necessary ideal and always contingent upon the specific circumstances and diverse needs through which it is articulated.”14 A context-based perception and openness to the ideals of universalism is thus an essential aspect of cosmopolitanism in its humanistic guise. Walter Mignolo suggests the term “critical cosmopolitanism” to highlight cosmopolitanism as a historically and context-based ideal that functions as an evaluative mechanism, as a reflexive self-critique, and as a “creative alternative” within processes of cross-cultural interactions.15 It is the reflective and creative aspect of cosmopolitanism as a practice and an experience, and its openness to context-based universality that, I argue, mark its presence during the nineteenth-century and that need to be accounted for in music historiography. This is particularly important because music, with its subjectivity and openness to signification, was crucial in the process of navigating the period’s new, multifaceted, and challenging perceptions of belonging to a world that quickly became larger than one’s locality and one’s national connections.

I do not want to suggest that cosmopolitanism is a practice or an experience that comes from nowhere, or that it is a universalizing force that marks its presence everywhere. Rather, my use of the term here is dependent on the understanding that cosmopolitan ideals surface in specific sociohistorical conditions that privilege particular places and times. As such, scholars have rightly pointed out the need to pay attention to the plurality of the concept, as cosmopolitanisms. During the nineteenth century, European cities were centers of the music publication business and the sites of coveted opera theaters, concert halls, music halls, and café concerts. They centralized music production and, most important, had the financial and political power to circulate music in markets across borders and oceans. Thus, addressing cosmopolitanism as an experience originating in Europe during an age of heightened nationalism, imperialism, and commercial expansion unavoidably leads to issues of power relationships, which are evident in the flow of music into and out of specific urban hubs in Europe. At the same time, the musical practices associated with Europe, once outside their place of origin, could no longer be restricted to or conditioned by their sociopolitical and geographical origins or to cultural narratives of national belonging; rather, they became independently meaningful to large numbers of people in various places. Within that context, cosmopolitanism should be understood not only as a process in which musical production becomes a dominant identity matrix that traveled beyond the local, but also as a critical reflection on music’s intrinsic relation to the local and the nation, as a critique of the very notion of European musics’ centrality.

I believe that the nineteenth century can be of particular interest as a historical site for investigations on cosmopolitan cultural and musical experiences and practices, because the period is characterized by unprecedented commercial, technological, social, and cultural “frantic interconnections,” to use Ledger and Luckhusrt’s expression,16 interconnections that escalated exponentially throughout the century, both in pace and in scope. According to Kristin Hoganson, the expansion of a global market between 1880 and 1914 and the resulting circulation of consumer and cultural goods, coupled with the intensity and rapid pace of social, political, and cultural exchanges, showed “an unprecedented level of sophistication in transnational explorations” that rivaled late twentieth-century experiences of globalization, with similar patterns of cultural exchanges and ramifications in cultural production, experiences, and relationships. As such, understanding the growth of nineteenth-century cosmopolitan experiences—experiences beyond local and national borders—can offer a historical grounding with which one can juxtapose our present.17

Most important, the focus on cosmopolitanism allows us to address the nineteenth century not as a static, nation-centric century, but as a period when national borders, being shaped and constantly disputed, challenged traditional forms of belonging. In fact, scholars have shown that during the nineteenth century it was a challenge, rather than a given, for nation builders to forge national sentiments.18 One can say that what characterizes the period was exactly the need to understand, confront, and ultimately control new political, social, and cultural relations resulting from the dissolution of long-standing, oligarchic systems of production and power and of religious conceptions of the world. And considering that cosmopolitan experiences have been particularly prevalent in periods of expansion and after the fall of empires, or “when states break up or new unions are formed,”19 the nineteenth century can provide us with vivid examples of the challenges in comprehending the very notion of culture and identity and the struggles to grasp the vulnerability of boundaries.

A cosmopolitan experience shaped the century’s most challenging and rousing feelings about the predicaments and ephemerality of progress, and the contraction and refashioning of time and space made possible by new technologies and media. It also entailed a gamut of possible aesthetic perceptions of the world, such as the limits between concepts of unity and diversity, between the rational and the illusory, between the real and social versus the ideal and reflective, between art and nonart, between the original and the copy. These dualities were not experienced as static concepts, but as challenges within a constantly changing and connected world. In 1890 François Mainguy wrote in Le fin de siècle: “No more rank, title, or race … All is mixed, confused, blurred, reshuffled, in a kaleidoscopic vision.”20 Cosmopolitanism highlights the vulnerability of these boundaries and helps us to uncover the many layers of shared human experiences that characterized the period’s kaleidoscopic vision.

One should go further, then, and explore cosmopolitanism during the nineteenth century not merely as a concept intertwined with the nation-state, or an identity that paralleled or opposed the politics of nationalism, but as an experience and a practice that transcended utopian Enlightenment ideals. As the century progressed, Delanty points out, cosmopolitanism gave “expression to a different dimension of belonging than that of nationalism,” one that offered “a critical and reflexive consciousness”21 of the political, social, and cultural entanglements of modernity. Cosmopolitanism moved from philosophical ideas and sociopolitical theories inherited from the Enlightenment thought to a reflection on the practice of daily life, as “actually existing cosmopolitanism,” as some scholars have put it.22 It became a daily reality that increasingly encompassed the lives of those living through the process of Europe’s shaping of itself—of those participating in the process from within, and of those connected to it from beyond European borders. Cosmopolitanism emerged as a consciousness of “being in the world” and an experience of “feeling in the world” that foreshadowed challenges and new possibilities, much more than it presented utopian views of a connected world. In its various manifestations, cosmopolitanism became a most pervasive consciousness of the century, whether in the terms of commerce and forms of cultural currencies, as a tool to reflect on the possibilities of technology to transcend and reshape time and space, or as an expression of optimism for a bright world devoid of human disconnections. Cosmopolitanism could be manifested in the form of a romantic self-detachment from a potentially larger world beyond oneself, or as a critical tool disguised as aestheticism; it could be articulated as a gloomy presage of an uncertain future without ties to locality or as a way to critique decadent bohemian escapism. Both praised and despised, as a consciousness of being in the world and a reflection on the world, cosmopolitanism became essential to individuals’ understandings of and agency in their own historical positions, allowing for imaginations beyond the local and the nation to become a practical reality, within and well beyond European borders.

Cosmopolitanism also became associated with an urban sphere of daily life, highlighting the role of the city in challenging and escaping the tentacles of the nation, politically and culturally, as the subversive Other. As Tanya Agatholous pointed out, cosmopolitan experiences and practices thrived in cities exactly because cities allowed for an aesthetic perception that tied global perspectives to a localized, urban experience claiming to be unbound by nation-state ties.23 As European nineteenth-century cities grew into complex human conglomerates, they emerged as sites for exploring, critiquing, and imagining cultural encounters; as spaces for identity explorations and escalating exoticisms; and as places for reflecting on displacements, disconnections, and exclusions. On the one hand, the city provided an experience of a world out of control, filled with rootless cosmopolitans. On the other, it offered promises of a shared global imaginary, a space in which to display the forces of modernity as spectacles, to showcase nations and cultures in world exhibitions, and to reflect on Self and Otherness. Victorian realist writers, Agathocleous notes, unapologetically explored London as a prototype of a “world-city,” as a “representative of mankind,” a place with “universal resonances,” where one would “apprehend global modernity,” both in its possibilities and failures.24 Early in his career, Wagner described Paris as “the center of the world, where the arts of every nation stream together to one focus,”25 only to disparage Paris later for the city’s capacity to enthrall a decadent bourgeoisie with no national commitments. Walter Benjamin described Paris not merely as the capital of France, but as the capital of the nineteenth century, as a city that encapsulated a temporal Geist that exuded modernity while exposing capitalism’s flaws.26 Paris and London, the world’s largest cities at midcentury, became worldwide cultural commodities in themselves, for they emanated a cosmopolitan urban ideal that was widely exported and that colored the imaginations of millions of individuals living in cities far away.27

Connections beyond the local and the nation unleashed a gamut of political, social, and cultural bonds among people from distant places, fueling everything from anarchist causes and antislavery movements to literary circles determined to detach themselves from the aesthetic grasp of nationalistic agendas.28 These connections were articulated by a powerful urban bourgeoisie, whose ties were shaped by social (and racial and gender) and ideological, rather than by national, attachments. But the urban bourgeoisie was not a monolithic sociopolitical group, and their response to cosmopolitanism was not one of wholehearted engagement. They were threatened by the emergence of socialism on a global scale and felt vulnerable before ideals of progress that relegated the past to a mythical state and overestimated the future in lieu of the present, leading to a sense of historical unpredictability, an angst that was manifested by expressions of detachment: from the local, from the city, from the nation, and from the possibilities of the universal.29 At the same time, markets, capitalism, and imperialism led to a level of consumption that permitted the emergence of cosmopolitans who never left home, cosmopolitans who were not part of a dominant bourgeoisie, and those who were displaced from their homes and did not fit the image of the “citizen of the world” who is uprooted as a preference. In the end, cosmopolitan experiences and practices encompassed more than privileged Europeans and intellectual travelers attempting to make sense of their own cultural identity politics. They became part of the experiences of individuals and groups that, willingly or not, became connected to the political, commercial, and cultural expansions originating in Europe.

Understood as a negotiated space of shared experiences and practices, the concept of cosmopolitanism has the potential to offer a fresh, context-based, historical interpretation of a nineteenth-century, European-centered music production through its multiple flows beyond its places of origin. But the focus on cosmopolitanism can drive bolder ideas with implications that go beyond a mere suggestion of historiographical review. It highlights music’s subjectivity as a tool within a process of constructing cosmopolitan experiences and fueling a cosmopolitan “collective creativity.” As I suggest below, this cosmopolitan experience emerged from the midst of various cultural flows during the nineteenth century in contexts that “emanated from the middle of social consciousness”30 and were associated with shared experiences of modernity, rather than solely from a political stance dictated by ideals of nation building.

Cosmopolitanism and Music in the Nineteenth Century

As the epigraphs above illustrate, throughout the nineteenth century European intellectuals and artists grappled with national/cosmopolitan tensions, as Enlightenment thought overlapped with theories of the nation-state and technological advances made it increasingly easy to connect people beyond their localities. Goethe’s belief in the potential of literary works to represent a unified German nation paralleled his conviction that literature could become a force for human self-understanding in relation to a larger view of the world (centered in Europe). In 1827 he denounced his compatriots, stating, “We Germans are very likely to fall too easily into this pedantic conceit, when we do not look beyond the narrow circle that surrounds us,” and argued further that “national literature is now rather an unmeaning term; the epoch of world-literature is at hand, and everyone must strive to hasten its approach.”31 By midcentury Karl Marx was warning about the nefarious character of burgeoning capitalism and the growing power of the “cosmopolitan character” of the production and consumption of “cultural goods” circulating beyond national borders. But Marx was also ambivalent about cosmopolitanism’s power to undermine the dominance of the nation-state, which at this point had a marked presence in the European politics of cultural belonging. Marx pointed to cosmopolitanism’s role in unifying the proletariat against the expanding nation and posited that “national one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness” would eventually give way to the idea that “intellectual creation of individuals and nations become common property.”32 Today, one may look with skepticism on these views as Eurocentric and universalizing, a praxis that constituted the nineteenth-century cosmopolitan nationalist continuum. Nonetheless, as they were translated into several languages and circulated widely beyond their places of origin, Goethe’s and Marx’s works became themselves tangible examples of how ideas and cultural production, fostered by the growing force of a capitalist market, freely crossed borders to resonate with individuals worldwide. They show how ideas acquired wings, as Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand realized in 1841.

Distilling Enlightenment concepts, nineteenth-century European composers and music critics also dwelled within the paradoxes of their modernity and the politics of identity, stressing music’s role to characterize a unified nation, while showing its power to address humanity’s universal freedom. Carlotta Sorba describes opera production in nineteenth-century Italy as a “perennial balancing act between cosmopolitanism and nationhood.”33 In Germany, E. T. Hoffman’s (1776–1822) aesthetic theories directly resonated with early romantic writers and their Enlightenment cosmopolitan ideals.34 A generation later, Adolf Bernhard Marx (1795–1866) and Franz Brendel (1811–1868) still echoed Enlightenment thought, caught as they were between national and cosmopolitan ideals. Marx’s writings, for example, focus on music’s role to define “what [it] is to be German,” but he also evokes music’s potential for broad engagement with other nations, arguing for “music’s moral forces [as] … capable of exercising an ennobling influence on mankind.”35 But nobody manipulated this “paradox of modernity” so well as the composer, writer, and critic Richard Wagner, who took advantage of both the centripetal forces of nationalism and centrifugal forces of cosmopolitanism as means to an end in his own musical and political projects. Nicholas Vazsonyi goes so far as to suggest a “Wagner paradox,” as the composer crafted a music aesthetic that supported views on Germanness, but one that also had the force to address “mankind.”36 Wagner dismissed the forces of modernity and of markets, demeaned cosmopolitans, and proceeded to theorize the need for a new music concept that was yet to come—and that he could provide. But Wagner also transformed his works, and his ideas about his works, into borderless commodities and had a strong hand in making them a worldwide phenomenon. The success of his enterprises shows his understanding of the sociopolitical and cultural transformations of Europe at midcentury and is a tangible example that not only ideas but also artistic works could navigate the complex forces of an increasingly connected nineteenth century.

As part of both a universalizing humanistic plot inherited from the eighteenth century and a corollary to the nineteenth-century political realization of the nation, the concept of cosmopolitanism can thus prove fruitful for explorations of a nuanced musical ecology during a time in which imperial expansion, technological advances, the growth of global capitalism, and the increasing complexities of urban life multiplied the possibilities and the needs for border crossing and facilitated cross-cultural encounters and reflections. It is telling, however, that the association of music with the politics of nationalism and the construction of national identity has taken precedence in explorations of nineteenth-century musical practices.37 Carl Dahlhaus, for instance, acknowledges that “notions of human commonality, cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and individualism all impinged on music aesthetics in the nineteenth-century,” but avoids explorations that go much beyond the nationalistic forces, perhaps, as he contends, because “nineteenth-century thought went around and around these anthropological categories [and] the relations between [these categories] are so tangled.”38 But Dahlhaus was not hesitant to address with historic authority the aesthetic forces of the nation-state on European music and on music in Germany in particular, bringing to the fore Hegel’s tenets to assert that in the nineteenth century there was a belief that “for [musical] individuality to be truly original it must be rooted in the ‘national spirit’.”39 Dahlhaus points out the ambiguity of such statements, how they were entangled with calls for universality and associated with politicized aesthetic values. Nonetheless, avoiding the entanglements of a cosmopolitan network and its contradictory position toward the politics of nationalism, twentieth-century discourses about music continued to approach cosmopolitanism in music during the nineteenth century as nothing but an opposite to nationalism, as a stigmatized term with snobbish or racial undertones, or as a practice that would eventually corrupt the lineage of pure national musics. In the end, Hans Weisethaunet notes, for some music historians, “the ‘nation’—and its ‘culture’—seems almost a given,” an unambiguous relation that has shaped “the ways we construct music historiographies, how we select and preserve canons, how our music history narratives are framed, whose voices are represented, in what language they are allowed to speak.”40

To be sure, the political force of nations and ideologies of nationalism did leave a strong mark on ways of understanding music practices during the nineteenth century, a topic that has been widely explored in the literature.41 Furthermore, concepts of the nation-state and the politics of nationalism have been deconstructed enough in the social sciences to permit a multiplicity of interpretations of their roles in ordering experiences, including musical experiences, during periods of transition, today and in the past. However, more often than not discourses about music, nation, and culture in nineteenth-century Europe have been not only one-sided, but also, to an extent, contradictory. Georges Jean-Aubry, a critic preoccupied with establishing music’s role in the politics of nationalism in early twentieth-century France, for example, suggested that composers would be better off skipping nineteenth-century music altogether as a source of inspiration in the building of a French national musical language; he encouraged them to focus instead on the remote past.42 With a strong sense of what should constitute national French music, Jean-Aubry saw the nineteenth century as a period of “contamination,” when the availability of, need for, and interest in engagements with the foreign was a reality that obfuscated the potential of music to build nationalisms. For him cosmopolitanism was not a utopian Enlightenment ideal of the past, but rather a present and real threat to music’s power to build unique canonic national works. Jean-Aubry’s anxieties were actually reactions to how music served to order experiences and practices not bound by the nation, and such cosmopolitan practices threatened the potential of music’s national uniqueness and ultimately its power to be marked as European (as German, French, etc.). The degree to which these anxieties intensified as the nineteenth century progressed paralleled the pace at which the cosmopolitan presence became more conspicuous—due in part to the technological improvements that enabled wider and faster circulation of information. As a result, it became all the more pressing to stress cosmopolitanism’s damaging trends, to locate its manifestations alongside rootless individuals, in women’s experiences, and in racial and ethnic differences. Jean-Aubry’s advice reflects his acute understanding that the nineteenth-century cosmopolitan experience allowed for alternative interpretations of European modes of musical establishment, alternatives that put theories of nationality and cultural uniqueness of one nation in an uneasy state.

If one is to follow a narrative of music practices and their relation to the politics of identity during the nineteenth century, within Europe and within its complex web of European cultural and musical networks, one needs to account for the relationship between musics and nationality, how they were (and continue to be) imagined—in Benedict Anderson’s sense of imagined Nations43—and how they were institutionalized and politically manipulated.44 But one also needs to address how these relationships were contested, how music served to navigate the gray areas that lay between political claims of national cultural identity and “the way culture is” (or was) in practice, to recall Jeremy Waldron’s words, as never pure. It is necessary to account for how music served to express and confront the complex “kaleidoscopic vision” of a nineteenth-century European modernity and how music served to shape, challenge, and offer creative solutions to the context of a past globalized scenario in which Europe was the center.

As Bruce Robbins noted, the dynamics of music and cosmopolitanism in the nineteenth century were ultimately an outgrowth, or ideological reflection, of global capitalism, a context too often associated with a twentieth-century malaise.45 Thus, large parts of the narratives of music and cosmopolitanism rest on the understanding that cultural and music production and experiences were used and shared as commodities and understood as a result of capitalist practices—as cultural capital, to use Bourdieu’s term. The expansion of global capitalism during the nineteenth century led to a shift from localized and private to public support for musical practices, as well as to a growing relationship between music and markets shaped by fashion, geared toward profits, and dependent on new social relations and connections beyond local and national borders. A new music professionalism heightened composers’ and performers’ needs to negotiate, and thus to reflect on, their professional aspirations and needs for self-expression and the needs of patrons and audiences that were near and familiar, as well as of those that were far away and unknown to them.46 To make oneself relevant and meaningful to large and varied audiences, musicians of all walks of life (including those active in concert halls, theaters, and cafés, and amateurs) had to navigate a subjective media to bridge physical borders, as well as social and cultural contexts. As a result, markets and the improving communications across long distances transformed nineteenth-century musicians into expert travelers and apprentice cosmopolitans at work; they became “citizens of the world” learning to acquire the “semiotic skills [needed] to navigate various cultural contexts.”47 At the same time, nineteenth-century audiences were cosmopolitan consumers, a group comprised of a large bourgeoisie located in cities across oceans, who shared a sense of aural-historical position and social status and reflected on notions of progress and the new possibilities of musical innovation as a way to engage with the new times and with one another.48 Studies on music reception during the nineteenth century have pointed out that urban audiences rarely lauded musical markers of places or requested to hear works of particular composers who are now canonic figures; rather, they sought multiplicity in performance styles and media, instrumentation, and novel sounds.49 Not unlike today, music practices in the nineteenth century were stories of production and consumption of cultural capital, a narrative about the transitory and the new, and explorations of expanding spaces of cultural belonging.

Richard Wagner was not the first, and the only one, to attempt to make himself relevant (and powerful) within a complex, connected world that moved in unprecedented directions. In general, musicians working in the theater, a commercial enterprise from its inception, understood the potential of music to seize the attention of various audiences and worked toward that goal. Rossini, Verdi, Meyerbeer, Saint-Saëns, and Massenet, among others, are examples of composers who needed to travel and find their way through the porosity of borders. But composers devoted to instrumental music, a medium that can operate beyond the immediate context of verbal language, were also conscious of the need to blur the lines between and among nations and locality. Celia Applegate has explored Felix Mendelssohn’s role in navigating between a consciousness of national identity (as German) while creating ties with Great Britain.50 Dana Gooley shows Franz Liszt as an excellent example of a nineteenth-century performer who traveled constantly and became capable of “mobilizing, destabilizing, and reconstituting borders.”51 One can add several others to the list. In fact, most artists and musicians during the nineteenth century, including those touted as pillars of national traditions, were confronted with and challenged by music markets and the need to make music meaningful both nearby and far away, and to navigate the borders of various spheres of their political, social, and cultural lives.

But the concept of cosmopolitanism is most often evoked in music literature when musicians make incursions into European cities to find a cosmopolitan urban space, to become cosmopolitans, to (re)produce cosmopolitan musics, and in the end, to contribute to the growth of a dominant identity matrix centered on a few cities. From this perspective, cosmopolitanism is touted as a static practice that is difficult to define in musical terms, unless it is tackled as a homogeneous musical style associated with one place and believed to belong to specific composers. Aware of the difficulty in locating cosmopolitanism in music, scholars have identified it as a compositional practice of some nineteenth-century composers to meld (national) musical languages into hybrid styles, a process that can easily resonate with Enlightenment ideals of freedom to cross musical borders to explore the music of “Others.” Michael Tusa’s appraisal of Weber’s choices in Der Freischütz as a patchwork of different styles, for example, confronts the discourse of a homogeneous operatic repertory that is believed to define German nationality early in the century. He interprets the work as a cosmopolitan “combination and synthesis” of “the best” foreign styles, namely the French and Italian traditions.52 Richard Taruskin depicts Glinka as a cosmopolitan composer with the uncanny ability of “organically uniting” “the best of the West,” understood as a mix of German, Italian, and French (national) musics.53 Scholars have also turned to cosmopolitanism as a way to critique discourses that downplay some composers for their lack of a clearly delineated national language. Meyerbeer’s gift for eclecticism, for example, explored in the past as a doomed practice mostly because of Wagner’s criticisms, is now being considered an individual gift for mixing music in creative ways. Mendelssohn’s ability to operate beyond the narrow path of prescribed national styles, once considered a “problem,” is now touted as the composer demonstrating an understanding of audiences in various European centers.54 Recent research has moved in a different direction, exploring the connection between music and language to invoke the process of “code switching,” in which composers do not merely mix but move among languages. Joanne Cormac suggests that Liszt and Meyerbeer, as cosmopolitans, were composers with a multilinguistic capability of “code switching” among (national) musical languages.55

These studies are welcome explorations of composers’ engagements beyond their places of origin and the borders of national cultures, focusing on their compositions as a passport for multiple (national) belongings. Nonetheless, they also point to cosmopolitanism’s ambivalence as a lens of cultural critique and to its limitation for addressing the entanglements facing nineteenth-century music historiography. Studies exploring how groups outside mainstream music discourses have been able to navigate positions of marginality by producing hybrid styles also imply that some composers, works, and styles are hybrids while others are not; following the cosmopolitan/hybrid analogy, they imply that some composers and musical works are cosmopolitan, while others are not. James Clifford’s insightful observation comes in handy here: he notes that discourses in which certain classes of people are cosmopolitan (travelers) while the rest are local (natives) “appears as the ideology of one (very powerful) traveling culture.”56 It is thus not a coincidence that the badge of “cosmopolitan” has now been given to composers and performers who have been traditionally presented in scholarship as radically different from one another—from Cherubinni, to Mendelssohn, to Meyerbeer, to Liszt, to Saint-Saëns, to Glinka, to Grieg—but who share with one another a place of marginality within mainstream scholarly discourse. The badge of cosmopolitan may serve as a new modus operandis within the quest for canonic recognition.

One should assume that cultural hybridity happens.57 Past and present globalizing forces, colonialism, imperialism, and technology have led to cultural encounters of many kinds, resulting in several layers of mixing and appropriations, whether or not they were understood (in production or consumption) as “national” or “hybrid.” Terms like hybridity, acculturation, multiculturalism, and transnationalism have been part of a wide literature addressing political, social, and cultural experiences that fall outside the tidiness of discourses about closed cultures associated with one’s identity, in particular one’s identity as it is shaped by locality and nationality.58 However, the exploration of identities of some groups as salutary hybrids has unpacked its own set of national imaginaries, becoming a much contested way to aestheticize difference within the political hierarchies of cultural hegemony of the nation.59 For within the hybridity perspective there is an emphasis on the bridging of cultural differences engendered by place of birth and nationality—like Mendelssohn navigating between the supposedly German and English national cultures—and on the expectation that the final product should acquire a life of its own and eventually become the product of “an Other” culture, one marked by difference, but one that also leaves the model’s supposed uniqueness and assumed value untouched in the process. More often than not, these approaches tend to enforce what they are supposed to interrogate. Even if one is to suggest that a cosmopolitan musical work, as a hybrid, can be evoked as a creative “alternative space,” as Brigid Cohen suggests, or a “third space,” in Homi Bhabha’s postmodern slant,60 the approach may still reinforce the culturally unique and hinder reflections on the existence of “shared spaces” in which a fluid and critical cosmopolitan experience takes place. Reception studies investigating the dissemination of musical works away from their places of origin have followed similar paths, as they start from the assumption that audiences in various places necessarily listen to various musics “with a different ear.”61 Simon Frith rightly points out that “while music may be shaped by the people who first make and use it, as an experience it has a life of its own.”62 However, more often than not, this life is assumed to be or become different in each place in which the music travels. And while this might be exactly the case in most instances, as a large literature has demonstrated, the dominance of cultural relativism in social sciences has offered very few tools to move beyond normative studies about cultural distinctiveness and to allow for considerations about larger patterns of cultural relationships.

I believe that cosmopolitanism, as the concept has recently been (re)defined in the social sciences, is most productive to address nineteenth-century music practices when it is evoked as a way of confronting modernity and reflecting on its connected, shared cultural practices. The cosmopolitan lens can serve to elucidate large and ever-changing patterns of cultural movements not bound by the nation or by locality, to explore cultural expressions resulting from shared perceptions of the world and shared spaces of cultural attachments and detachments that ultimately come to exist beyond the marketability of cultural capital. As a flexible signifier not bound by language, music can serve us particularly well in these explorations. Elaine Sisman pointed to the need to reflect on how European composers imagined their audiences and how the consciousness of “being in the world” added to their compositional practices.63 One can expand on these ideas and ask how various music works served to create or reflect on a sense of global space within and outside their place of origin. If Rossini’s and Verdi’s operas and Offenbach’s operettas were not merely reflections or imaginaries of Italianess or Frenchness and were not meant solely for Italian or French citizens, as several scholars have demonstrated,64 one should then ask: Which musical impetus and compositional tools allowed them to reach multiple audiences near and far? What does the practice say about the music, about the process, and about those near and those far? Within a narrow understanding of music as geographically bound, it is difficult—without resorting to discourses of colonialism and cultural imperialism—to account for the thousands of copies of Rossini’s, Verdi’s, and Offenbach’s music that are extant in theaters and archives throughout various continents, to account for the fact that Rossini’s and Verdi’s musics became a sort of musical “lingua franca” in every city that they reached for over fifty years. Furthermore, focusing solely on the role of Rossini’s music to articulate an Italian tradition fails to account for the fact that Rossini’s music traveled as cultural capital and fashion—but mostly disassociated from his name, detached from his operas, and independent of the cultural and national politics of Italy—to fulfill the needs of an increasingly connected bourgeois audience spread throughout large cities in Europe and across oceans. Thus, to view the musics by Rossini or any other composer as solely related to the politics of national identity and the aesthetics of nationalism—as an Italian composer writing Italian music for an Italian (or European) audience—is to deny the music and the various audiences that engaged with their social and historical agency, to ignore the music’s cosmopolitan afterlife. Considering that the music of Rossini and other nineteenth-century “best sellers,” like Spohr, Cherubini, Massenet, and Saint-Saëns, were heard throughout the century in various performing contexts and in various places, one should then inquire how their musics have become part of borderless aesthetic engagements with modernity, serving as a site of reflection and critique for various people who became part of a large European cultural network.65

For example, Gillen Darcy Wood explores virtuosity as an outgrowth of and a response to both markets and technology.66 He posits that the virtuoso became a coveted musical spectacle of the industrialized era, providing a sonic aspect to the culture of the visual, which was inspired by technological possibilities of panoramas, photography, and later, early movies. These technological innovations enticed people across boundaries of nations and allowed individuals to experience modernity from various places at a distance, as a way of “being in world” through the sonic and the visual. One can suggest that Italian bravura singing offered a take on the voice as part of the mechanics of the era, and composers dedicated melodies that emphasized the visual aspects of the culture of idolatry through the voice. Virtuoso performers like Liszt, he continues, were in sync with “musical works as innovative models of consciousness,” highlighting the visual and the spectacle against romantic interiority and the sacralization of the “work” as text and challenging the traditions and social aspirations of aristocracy.67 Cormac Newark and Taruskin reached a parallel conclusion in relation to Meyerbeer, showing the composer’s orchestration in grand opera as his take on nineteenth-century industrialization and technological progress.68 Similar insights into the music of composers such as Berlioz and Wagner, who were particularly attentive to the technologies of sound production, suggest that their music helped audiences to visualize the sonic experience or to extend the sonic into the visual, providing aesthetic stances that fostered cosmopolitanism as part of a nineteenth-century modernity. Later in the century, composers like Grieg and Mahler continued to explore space as experiences of music/sonic and the visual, what Grimley calls the “ideology or culture of sound,” a way in which nineteenth-century composers used music to “sound modernity.”69

These welcome studies have opened paths for redeeming nineteenth-century modernity from the confines of the politics of nationalism. However, rather than a homology that freezes cultural meaning into particular social structures, the cosmopolitan lens will interrogate music’s movements in its potential for “imagining the world” and for “world making.” The question, then, should be not simply how and why models of music expression were shaped and established, historically and contextually, but also how and why they were “consumed and metabolized”70 to allow for shared cosmopolitan practices that were expressions of experiences of modernity and feelings of being in the world. The main challenge that cosmopolitanism brings to nineteenth-century music historiography, and the prevalent discourse of music and nationality, is the possibility to confront the outcomes of musics’ travels, which, unprecedented in its scope and pace, became a dominant part of musical practices during the period. The focus on cosmopolitanism during the “age of nationalism” opens the space for coming to grips with the fact that when the musics one associates with the name of Rossini, Offenbach, Strauss, or Wagner travel, they encounter an infinite number of “Rossinis,” “Offenbachs,” “Strausses,” and “Wagners.” These are encounters with similarities, rather than encounters with differences, and bring to the fore the need to critically grasp not only the political, commercial, and practical outcomes of music’s travels, but also the imaginative aspects of the nineteenth-century cosmopolitan engagement with modernity and their reflective, albeit utopian, ideals of universality. At issue here is not simply a confrontation with “a gallery of virtuous, eligible identities,” but rather a “domain of contested politics” that does not “resolve the dilemmas, but … exposes them … in its multi-voiced complexity.”71 The domains of contested politics are particularly evident when one is able to put musical Europeaness and its assumptions of an inherent aesthetic value and uniqueness to the test, by allowing the burden of cultural ownership to lessen and erode its veil of national authenticity, originality, and significance as it moves through the fragility of borders. Thus, an exploration of cosmopolitanism as a nineteenth-century musical practice should consider central places in Europe as sites of borderless, shared cultural practices that depended on the agency of people’s positioning themselves within their surrounding world in cultural contexts that transcended their local communities or nations. Considering cosmopolitanism as a nineteenth-century experience and practice allows us to contemplate music practices originating in Europe beyond its Europeaness.

But one should go further and address cosmopolitanism as an ideal that was articulated through a complex interplay of shared aesthetic modes of reflection and collective creativity. If markets and technological advances in communication made possible the crossing of borders, engagements with cultural difference, and the extension of social belongings, they also supported shared spaces of aesthetic expressions and perceptions of the universal. The relevance of cosmopolitanism for explorations of nineteenth-century musical practices rests on the assumption that not only musical production and consumption, but also aesthetic stances and creative solutions, were shared and negotiated by many beyond geographical boundaries and the confines of politics of national cultural belonging. Papastergiadis notes that explorations of the cosmopolitan dimension of artistic practices suggest a more ambiguous terrain and multidirectional flow than the usual focus on cosmopolitanism as a tool for moral, ethic, and political claims, and as such they can provide a more fluid understanding of cosmopolitanism’s potential for artistic engagements. Papastergiadis proposes an exploration of the aesthetic dimension of cosmopolitanism, as well as a consideration of the cosmopolitan worldview that is produced through aesthetics.72 The focus on cosmopolitanism should thus tap into music’s power to transcend political and social imperatives, on music’s openness to unbounded transformations and collective creativity, and on music’s role in shaping shared aesthetic experiences as they were fostered by a nineteenth-century global imaginary.

A Case of Nineteenth-Century Cosmopolitanism at the Margins: The “Extra Life” of European Music

Alberto Nepomuceno (1864–1920) lived through the trenches of a complex nineteenth-century musical world. Educated as a “citizen of the world” within a European-centered music environment, he lived in Germany, Italy, and France and studied with well-known teachers. In Rome he learned from Giovanni Sgambatti at the Liceo Musicale Santa, and then traveled to Berlin, where he enrolled at the Königliche Akademie der Künste (1891–1892) under the compositional guidance of Heinrich von Herzogenberg. Later Nepomuceno transferred to the Etern’sches Konservatorium der Musik, where he had composition lessons with Arno Kleffel and connected as a student and as a colleague with figures like Brahms, Max Bruch, and Schoenberg. Nepomuceno then moved to Paris, where he attended the Schola Cantorum; studied organ with Alexandre Guilmant; and interacted with well-known figures such as Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Massenet, and Vincent D’Indy. His personal and professional life also led to connections with Edward Grieg and Gustav Mahler. Altogether, Nepomuceno’s biography intersects with an array of nineteenth-century Europe’s prestigious music names and places.73

Like many of his contemporaries, Nepomuceno had aspirations to write music for a large audience, both local and far away, and to belong to a music world as he perceived it: one that was shaped in Europe and that, he believed, had the potential to be universal. But Nepomuceno was not a citizen of, nor did he have political commitments to, any of the European countries in which he lived. At thirty years of age he moved across the Atlantic and spent his life far from European audiences in large concert and opera halls, away from the scrutiny of powerful publishers and critics. The few publications of his music during his lifetime seldom made it to the coveted venues in Europe; only a few of his works were heard in Europe, although some were performed in his home country, mostly as part of an imagined legacy that fulfilled local nationalistic agendas. Within a European musical context and its networks, Nepomuceno’s works were “out of sight-and-ears, out of mind,” a state that attests to the domain of the centers of music power and the predictable directions of the flow of music in the nineteenth century.

At the same time, Nepomuceno lived in a coastal capital city with a large port opened historically, politically, and commercially to Europe. The city was in many ways like many others during the nineteenth-century: an urban conglomerate and part of a larger system of political and economic expansion and technological modernization of Europe. Nepomuceno’s encounters with modernity via the city demanded reflections on his local context, but his experiences and musical expressions were also intertwined with, and dependent on, modernizing contexts of other contemporary cities far away. His life was thus set in a hub of nineteenth-century urban cultural connections, and within this context he became an accomplished composer who acquired a solid position as the leader of a local musical establishment. On the one hand, Nepomuceno remained imbued with core Enlightenment ideals, faithful to notions of progress and human freedom: “It is through work together with intelligence,” he noted, “that one has formed the patrimony of humanity.”74 On the other hand, his experiences with constant political and social transitions during the second part of the century left a strong mark on his understanding of the larger world around him. Nepomuceno could partake of the promises and disillusionments of modernity that were inescapable to his generation, from the technological advances that connected audiences and that fueled the rise of public entertainment, to the angst caused by the globalizing effects of a bloating capitalism, to the fast growth of political nationalism. Like many artists of his generation, Nepomuceno was attentive to avant-garde movements and to new modes of interaction and experiences in a period of global conflicts, commercial expansion, and unprecedented cultural connections.

Recently there has been a boom in scholarly explorations of Nepomuceno’s work. Wide ranging in their methodologies and foci, these studies bring to light one major common thread: the composer’s large and varied music output does not fit within the historically linear flow of developments of European music during the period, if examined solely through a nation-driven lens; the composer’s works do not exhibit the clear-cut musical markers of locality and nationality expected to emerge from a nineteenth-century composer, specially from those active on Europe’s periphery.75 At the same time, Nepomuceno’s complex output shows a skilled composer experimenting with several major trends and “isms” fashionable during the century. His ability in melodic development and his fondness for classic formal structures in his symphony and some chamber works have earned him the stature of a neo-Brahmsian. At the same time, Nepomuceno’s exploration of ambivalent tonal centers, his use of altered chords, pentatonicism, and whole-tone scales, has led some critics to align his songs and orchestral pieces with contemporary Wagnerians as well as with their opponents. As a composer dwelling with his own modernity, Nepomuceno explored the limits of tonality, experimented with the contingencies of musical form, toyed with various exoticisms, and made incursions into popular music styles. He penned large and small orchestral pieces and smaller instrumental works in various timbristic combinations and pondered the creative possibilities enabled by the technological advances of instruments, as he explored the associations between music and images and the expansion of the sonic through the visual. Nepomuceno also wrote a long list of exquisite songs in a variety of languages, exploring the musical potential of poetry in various languages. Nepomuceno was a music chameleon, Dante Pignatari asserts, able to move among and make use of all styles, genres, and formal and technical possibilities available to him.76

When scholars delve into Nepomuceno’s works, they are confronted with the lack of a unique individual style that could distinguish his music from that of his contemporaries; they also cannot establish his devotion to one particular musical style that could define his geographical presence and local political agency within a specific nation. Scholars are nonetheless successful in pointing out Nepomceno’s expertise in many musical styles considered to be the property of people living far away. They have explored the many similarities that Nepomuceno’s music has to works by several European composers, some of whom were Nepomuceno’s contemporaries in Europe, while others were considered passé during his time. Such composers identified in the various analyses of his music include Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Max Bruch, Liszt, Strauss, Wagner, Massenet, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, D’Indy, César Franck, Chabrier, Dupark, Grieg, Albéniz, Schoenberg, Satie, Honegger, and Hugo Wolf—and this is surely not a comprehensive list. In Ulf Hannerz’s definition, Nepomuceno’s array of “musical competencies” clearly defines him as a cosmopolitan composer, one who is comfortable in various (musical) cultural contexts. One could also suggest that Nepomuceno was, like Mendelssohn and Liszt, a cosmopolitan skilled in “code-switching,” in moving among various musical languages that are assumed to identify and belong to someone else. In addition, Nepomuceno’s works have served music analysts well as clear-cut examples of “musical intertextuality;” understood as a natural, albeit culturally and historically decontextualized, process that presupposes creative texts “talk” to one another through their inherent stylistic common features.77 Like cultural hybridity, intertextuality is expected to happen. Be that as it may, Nepomuceno’s varied and nonhistorically linear output disrupts any attempt to depict his music as nationalistic or as a creative hybrid that opens the path to an Other local culture. It seems that his output is entrapped by its similarity to modes of establishment and subdued by its lack of originality.

Still, the nature of Nepomuceno’s music continues to puzzle scholars. Goldberg and Vidal have pointed out that the composer was particularly successful in conjuring up techniques usually understood as disparate, a juxtaposition that does not reveal a synthesis, but rather a collage of apparently discordant modes of expressions.78 Examples of this collage are noticeable throughout the composer’s output, but the usual prototype of these compositional “discordances” has been his Variations sur un thème original op. 29 for piano (1902). A gamut of musical techniques and modes of musical expression available at the end of the nineteenth century is present in this work. Nepomuceno moves effortlessly among diatonicism, chromaticism, bitonality, modal harmonies, suspended cadences, politonality, harmonic clusters, pentatonicism, and whole-tone scale without the need for bridges or hybridization. Goldberg calls the work a summary of Nepomuceno’s ambiguous modernities and sees it as a reflection of the composer’s historical position.79 And although it is easy to read in this collage a celebration of Nepomuceno’s eclecticism that exposes the originality of others, the resulting stylistic ambivalence of his works allows for an alternate reading: rather than an “object in the background,” his music can be revealed as a “source of knowledge, or experience” that both reflects on, and helps build, a late-nineteenth-century cosmopolitan consciousness.80 If one abandons the usual methodological nationalism that requires the identification of a unique, new, and individual approach to music, and instead addresses Nepomuceno’s work through a cosmopolitan lens, one is confronted with an output bounded by an aesthetic stance that relies on techniques of the fragmentary: a cosmopolitan aesthetic that is not entirely decontextualized from origins or traditions, but one in which the nineteenth-century “kaleidoscope of visions” also becomes a “kaleidoscope of sounds.” As a cosmopolitan composer, Nepomuceno’s agency becomes visible as he provides an individual take on a collective of possibilities that was available to several, an individual take that could have resonances within and beyond his locality, a “self-reflexive repositioning of the self in the global sphere:”81

Nepomuceno’s cosmopolitanism involves reflecting and expanding on something assumed to be complete and opening it up again to further creative possibilities; it involves demystifying and problematizing preestablished imagined identities, collective and individual, and their safeguarded borders, by rethinking origins. Nepomuceno’s approach transforms the supposed models of establishment, but does not operate within a logic of the aesthetic value associated with uniqueness and authority. On the contrary, his eclecticism can serve literally to hinder the models’ claims of distinctiveness by offering them alternative interpretations. While Nepomuceno’s music reveals similarities with the European music status quo, his works are more than acts of deliberate imitation or parody. Nepomuceno’s works are examples of the network of cultural engagements and of a shared understanding of the world that was pervasive in late nineteenth-century urban centers. As such, Nepomuceno was not alone in his creative endeavours, for several artistss confronting the transformations of the long 19th century were also investing in the creative possibilities of cosmopolitan connections.82

But Nepomuceno’s compositional tools are also nineteenth-century modes of musical critique, not merely because he connects and transforms various models as they flow in his direction, but also because he highlights invisible connections. His works are indeed part of an “identity matrix” centered in Europe, but his musical choices allowed him to break the usual associations with places and names to make previous narratives of homogeneous national cultural attachments and cultural ownership irrelevant. Nepomuceno’s works offer ubiquitous cosmopolitan aesthetic stances that denationalize, de-Europeanize, and ultimately de-essentialize the musics being produced in Europe, while at the same time rendering possible their universalizing force.83 As such, his cosmopolitan aesthetics problematizes boundaries between local and universal, between originals and copies, between margins and centers, and ultimately, between the European and the non-European.

Composers like Nepomuceno allow us to see how nineteenth-century cosmopolitan musicians resisted geographical, cultural, and political constrains, and how they reflected on and challenged the limits of the European imagination and authority (and the French, the German, the English, etc.) by expanding on the musics’ many aesthetic possibilities. Paradoxically, one can also say that the condition of marginality becomes an asset for Nepomuceno, for it offers him the flexibility of locating himself within several realms of the cosmopolitan scape, to invest in the possibilities of large patterns of cultural and musical connections, and to act on the implications of this cosmopolitanism by negotiating a view of the world through selection and participation. These cosmopolitan stances are artistic takes that reflect nineteenth-century modernity’s lack of unity, but they also suggest a quest for subjectivity within a nineteenth-century network of music production. Nepomuceno’s subjectivity becomes particularly significant because it is through his output that global networks become apparent—it is through his output that one can see that cosmopolitan networks do not only touch and define local experiences, they also aim to change models and make possible their aspirations for universality.

Rodolfo Coelho points to a challenging question in this regard. Through a careful analysis of Nepomuceno’s music, Coelho notes that Nepomuceno’s harmonic structures and formal choices were present in his songs at the same time that, if not before, they were being used by several other composers in large cities in Europe. Souza points to particularities in Nepomuceno’s songs in French, for instance, that reveal chord progressions and musical syntaxes that are considered to be hallmarks, if not the property, of Debussy and Schoenberg.84 Without suggesting that Nepomuceno guided Debussy’s or Schoenberg’s musical choices, or wondering who did it for the first time, it is through works of composers like Nepomuceno that one can perceive the complex multiplicity of musical options at the end of the nineteenth century. Most important, they show that a cosmopolitan connection allowed composers in various places to arrive at similar solutions to similar problems within their individual global imaginaries. In these instances, one can understand Nepomuceno’s compositional strategies as both self-reflections and creative experimentations that highlight not only a creative “afterlife” of the models of establishment, but also an “extra life,” one that was intrinsically bound to a network of utopian, universalistic purposes of collective creativity and as such could only make sense within that network.

The exploration of a cosmopolitan experience through music casts new light on ideals of universality commonly granted to the music production of Europe, and particularly accorded to narratives of a specific nineteenth-century music canon. A cosmopolitan aesthetic allows for the universality of models within a canonic narrative to become visible, not through the recalling of homogeneous national narratives, but through the revelation of their fragmentary and “uncertain surfaces,” to use Adorno’s expression, that reveals a “ netherworldly glow” as the music travels in many unpredictable directions.85 And if the cosmopolitan aesthetics reveals untapped universal possibilities, it does so from a position of openness and participation that problematizes the idea of cultural identity as a marker of distinctiveness. Cosmopolitanism brings to the fore the possibility of universality through multiple actors and recasts the myth of the individual creator under a condition of nationality. At the same time, the cosmopolitan lens reveals the limits of the cosmopolitan experience and its assumption of openness and participation. For Nepomuceno’s music did not circulate outside its place of origin; as such, its evident marginality negates the possibilities of his offerings to the established modes of expression. That Nepomuceno’s cosmopolitan output did not help him transcend his locality speaks to a limiting realization of the nineteenth-century cosmopolitan scape and to the exclusionary outcomes of a nineteenth-century modernity.

In the end, a cosmopolitan lens cannot suggest an expansion of the nineteenth-century canon, aiming to find a place for an ever-growing number of artists left in the limbo of a music historiography devoted to national musical traits—an endeavor that would clearly be unattainable (and academically unsatisfying). The pursuit of a cosmopolitan lens of inquiry serves a less ambitious purpose. It exposes a cosmopolitan consciousness during the nineteenth century that problematizes the usual homogeneous narrative of music’s association with nationality, and indeed the uncomplicated associations of music, culture, and identity. It suggests a framework for explorations of the cultural complexity and often unexpected trajectories that lie behind historical narratives of national musics and cultural ownership.86 The cosmopolitan lens allows us to reframe music aesthetics by investing in the many possibilities of musical experiences and creativity which, although historically connected to the “age of nationalism,” found themselves unbound by national borders and only tenuously connected to linear, evolutionary, or relativist narratives of musical origins, growth, and development. In the end, I believe, the exploration of the cosmopolitan realm leads to the rethinking of how music mattered in the past and to the realization that the full story of European nineteenth-century musics is yet to be told.87


(1) For a study of the various approaches to cosmopolitanism during the Enlightenment, including Emmanuel Kant’s influential essay Perpetual Peace (1795), see Pauline Kleingeld, “Six Varieties of Cosmopolitanism in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany,” Journal of the History of Ideas 60, no. 3 (1999): 505–24. For a nuanced overview of Herder’s notion of cultural relativism and universalism, see Sonia Sikka’s Herder on Humanity and Cultural Difference: Enlightened Relativism (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

(2) Gerard Delante, “Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism: The Paradox of Modernity,” in The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalis, ed. Gerard Delante and Krishan Kumar (London: Thousand Oaks, 2006), 357. For the political uses of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism in the nineteenth century, see Pheng Cheah, “The Cosmopolitical—Today,” in Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation, ed. Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 22–30.

(3) Ulf Hannerz, Transnational Connections: Culture, People, Places (London: Routledge, 1999), 151; John Urry, Consuming Places, 167, cited in Jeannie Germann Molz, “Cosmopolitanim and Consumption,” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Cosmopolitanism, ed. Maria Rovisco and Magdalena Nowika (Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2011), 35. For excellent overviews and analysis of the ways in which cosmopolitanism has been evoked in the social sciences, see Robert Holton, Cosmopolitanisms: New Thinking and New Directions (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009); David T. Hansen, “Chasing Butterflies Without a Net: Interpreting Cosmopolitanism,” Studies in Philosophy and Education 29, no. 2 (2010): 151–66; and Gerard Delanty, “The Cosmopolitan Imagination: Critical Cosmopolitanism and Social Theory,” The British Journal of Sociology 57, no. 1 (2006): 25–47.

(4) For a critique of Hannerz’s use of the cosmopolitanism concept, see Holton, Cosmopolitanisms,18–19. For a critique of the revival of cosmopolitanism in the social sciences, see Craig J. Calhoun, “The Class Consciousness of Frequent Travellers: Towards a Critique of Actually Existing Cosmopolitanisms,” South Atlantic Quarterly 101, no. 4 (Fall 2002): 869–97.

(5) Pauline Kleingeld and Eric Brown, “Cosmopolitanism,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (published February 23, 2002; revised July 1, 2013),

(6) Jeremy Waldron, “What Is Cosmopolitan?,” Journal of Political Philosophy 8, no. 2 (2000): 234, 243.

(8) Rebecca L. Walkowitz, Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation(New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), Kindle edition, 5.

(9) Nayan Chanda notes that our understanding of the various implications of globalization, including cosmopolitanism, is predominantly ahistorical, because it is linked too much to recent socioeconomic and cultural history. See Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 246, 248, and 319; for a critique of sociohistorical accounts that overlook global connections see Eri Wolf’s introduction in Europe and the People Without History (Los Angeles and Berkeley: California University Press, 1982), 3–23. Holton has explored some of the historical dynamics of cosmopolitanism in Cosmopolitanisms, 57–82.

(10) Friedrich Meinecke, Cosmopolitanism and the Nation State, trans. Robert B. Kimber (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970). Welcome studies by Dana Gooley, Ryan Minor, Katherine Preston, and Jann Pasley have started to scrutinize the nineteenth century as a period of cosmopolitan engagements in music; see “Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Nationalism: 1848–1914,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 66, no. 2 (2013): 523–49.

(11) Ulrich Beck argues that a “methodological cosmopolitanism” is needed to reverse the “methodological nationalism” prevalent in the social sciences, but he also suggests that a methodological nationalism was appropriate for interpreting the ideals of the nation prevalent during what he calls the “first modernity” during the nineteenth century; see Cosmopolitan Vision (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2006), 19, 75–85. For a critique of Beck’s historical understanding of cosmopolitanism, see Holton, Cosmopolitanisms, 64–72. The idea of a “methodological cosmopolitanism” can be touted as one of the ways of exploring what Giorgina Born has labeled “relational musicology,” a reflection on not only “what counts as music to be studied, but [also] how it should be studied;” see “For a Relational Musicology: Music and Interdisciplinarity, Beyond the Practice Turn,” Journal of the Royal Music Association 135, no. 2 (November 2010): 205–42. Nicholas Cook makes a similar argument in “Anatomy of the Encounter: Intercultural Analysis as Relational Musicology,” in Critical Musicological Reflections: Essays in Honor of Derek B. Scott, ed. Stan Hawkins (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2012), 193–208.

(12) For a discussion and critique of cosmopolitanism as Eurocentric, see Robert Holton, “Some Coments on Cosmopolitanism and Europe,” in European Cosmopolitanism in Question (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 25–43. For a case study in the complexity of cosmopolitanism’s association with Eurocentrism, see Ackbar Abbas, “Cosmopolitan De-scriptions: Shanghai and Hong Kong,” in Cosmopolitanism, ed. Carol Brenckenridge et al. (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2002), 209–28, esp. 210–13.

(13) Holton, Cosmopolitanisms; see also Hansen, “Chasing Butterflies,” 153; and Gerard Delanty and B. He, “Cosmopolitan Perspectives on European and Asian Transnationalism,” in International Sociology 23, no. 3 (2008): 323–44.

(14) Nikos Papastergiadis, Cosmopolitanism and Culture (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2013), Kindle edition, 1643–44, 1656–57.

(16) Sally Ledger and Roger Luckhurst, The Fin de Siècle: A Reader in Cultural History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), xxi.

(17) Kristin Hoganson, “Cosmopolitan Domesticity: Importing the American Dream, 1865–1920,” American Historical Review 107 (2002): 2. For explorations on the many “nineteenth-century worlds” that can be connected to contemporary “global networks,” see Keith Hanley and Greg Kucich, eds., Nineteenth-Century Worlds: Global Formations Past and Present (London and New York: Routeledge, 2008).

(20) Quoted in Noel Orillo Verzosa, “The Absolute Limits: Debussy, Satie, and the Culture of French Modernism” (PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2008), 3. Original quote in Eugen Weber, Fin de Siècle (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1986), 10.

(22) Scott Malcomson, “The Varieties of Cosmopolitan Experiences,” in Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation, ed. Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 238–40.

(23) Tanya Agathocleous, Urban Realism and the Cosmopolitan Imagination in the Nineteenth Century: Visible City, Invisible World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), xiv, 118.

(24) Agathocleous, Urban Realism, xiv, 117–19.

(25) Therese Dolan, Manet, Wagner, and the Musical Culture of Their Time (Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2013), 23.

(26) Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, ed. Rolf Tiedemann, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

(27) For London as a cosmopolitan center, see Agathocleous, Urban Realism, 117–20. For imaginaries of Paris in Latin America, see Marcy Schwartz, Writing Paris: Urban Topographies of Desire in Contemporary Latin American Fiction (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999). For imaginaries of Paris in Northern Europe, see Elisabeth Oxfeldt, Nordic Orientalism: Paris and the Cosmopolitan Imagination 1800–1900 (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, 2005).

(28) For the anarchist movements connecting people from Europe to the Philippines during the period, see Benedict Anderson, The Age of Globalization: Anarchists and the Anticolonial Imagination (London: Verso, 2005). For cosmopolitan literary connections, see Camilla Fojas, Cosmopolitanism in the Americas (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2005) and Loss, Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); Amanda Anderson, The Powers of Distance: Cosmopolitanism and the Cultivation of Detachment (Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001); and Agathocleous, Urban Realism.

(29) For a study on the bourgeoisie and their varied outlook, see Peter Gay, Schnitzler’s Century: The Making of Middle-Class Culture 1815–1914 (New York: Norton, 2002), 3–34.

(30) This idea is taken from Felix Guttari, Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm, trans. P. Bains and J. Pefanis (Sydney: Power, 1995) and cited in Papastergiadis, Cosmopolitanism and Culture, 1691–95.

(31) Goethe’s quotation and his ideal of a world literature is discussed in Paolo Bartoloni, “World Literatures, Comparative Literature, and Glocal Cosmopolitanism,” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 15, no. 5 (2013): 5, For an analysis of Goethe’s understanding of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism, see Diane Morgan, “Goethe’s ‘Enhanced Praxis’ and the Emergence of a Cosmopolitan Future,” in Cosmopolitics and the Emergence of a Future, ed. Diane Morgan and Gary Banham (New York: Palmgrave Macmillan, 2007).

(32) Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, quoted in Bartoloni, “World Literatures,” 4–5.

(33) Carlotta Sorba, “Between Cosmopolitanism and Nationhood: Italian Opera in the Early Nineteenth-Century,” Modern Italy 19, no. 1 (2014): 53–67.

(34) Abigail Chantler, E.T.A.Hoffmann’s Musical Aesthetics (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2006), 153–68.

(35) Celia Applegate, “Adolf Bernhard Marx and German Music in the Mid-Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Modern European History 5, no. 1 (2007): 154, 140. Alexander Rehding discusses German music critics’ ambivalent construction of “national culture” and its dependency on notions of cosmopolitanism, focusing on the writings by Franz Brendel; see “Wagner, Liszt, Berlioz and the ‘New German School’,” in Nationalism Versus Cosmopolitanism in German Thought, 1789–1914: Essays on the Emergence of Europe, ed. Mary Anne Perkins and Martin Liebscher (Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2006), 159–87.

(36) Nicholas Vazsonyi, Richard Wagner: Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 1.

(37) At the time of the copy editing of this article (November 1015), music scholars were organizing an international conference on Music History and Cosmopolitanism to take place at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts in Helsinki, Finland, on June 1–3 of 2016. This is a most welcome first step in the direction of reflection and critique of current music historiographies and their connections to nationalitistic ideologies.

(38) Carl Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-Century Music (Berkeley and Los Angeles: California University Press, 1989), 37.

(40) Hans Weisethaunet, “Historiography and Complexities: Why Is Music ‘National’?,” Popular Music History 2, no. 2 (2007): 170.

(41) A summary of the main studies on nationalism in music in the twentieth century can be found in the introduction to Harry White and Michael Murphy, eds., Musical Constructions of Nationalism (Cork, Ireland: Cork University Press, 2001), 1–15. The standard view of music nationalism in musicology had been established by Richard Taruskin in “Nationalism,” in The Revised New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrel (Basingtoke, UK: Macmillan, 2001), 687–906. A critique of these studies can be found in Daniel Grimley, “National Contexts: Grieg and Folklorism in Nineteenth-Century,” in Grieg: Music, Landscape and Norwegian Identity (Suffolk, UK, and New York: The Boydell Press, 2006), 11–22; see also Celia Applegate, “How German Is It? Nationalism and the Idea of Serious Music in the Early Nineteenth Century,” 19th-Century Music 21, no. 3 (1998): 274–96.

(42) Georges Jean-Aubry, “La Musique française d’aujourd’hui,” (1916), quoted in Carlo Caballero, “Patriotism or Nationalism? Fauré at the Great War,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 52, no. 3 (1999): 604. Caballero shows that Fauré had reservations about writing an opera that could be seen as “essentially French,” since he believed that music should be a universal language; Caballero, “Patriotism or Nationalism?,” 599. For a similar view about Italy, see Alexandra Wilson, “Music, Letters, and National Identity,” Nineteenth-Century Music Review 7, no. 2 (2010).

(43) Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, rev. ed. (London and New York: Verso, 2006), 1–7.

(44) For music as an instrument of national unity and political nationalism, see Jann Parsley, Composing the Citizen: Music as Public Utility in Third Republic France (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009); for ways in which difference has been used politically, see Georgina Born and David Hesmondhalgh, eds., Western Music and Its Others: Difference, Representation, and Appropriation in Music (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000). Timothy Taylor, Beyond Exoticism: Western Music and the World (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007); Ralph Locke, Musical Exoticism: Images and Reflections (Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

(45) Bruce Robbins, “Introduction Part I: Actually Existing Cosmopolitanim,” in Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation, ed. Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 8.

(46) William Weber, The Musician as Entrepreneur,1700–1914: Managers, Charlatans, and Idealists (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2004).

(49) Ryan Minor, “Beyond Heroism: Music, Ethics, and Everyday Cosmopolitanism,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 66, no. 2 (2013): 533–34.

(50) Celia Applegate, “Mendelssohn on the Road: Music, Travel, and the Anglo-German Symbiosis,” in The Oxford Handbook of New Cultural History of Music, ed. Jane Fulcher (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press), 228–44.

(51) Dana Gooley, The Virtuoso Liszt (Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 117–55.

(52) Michael Tusa, “Cosmopolitanism and the National Opera,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 36, no. 3 (2006): 498.

(53) Richard Taruskin, Nineteenth-Century Music (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 239.

(54) Carl Dahlhaus, ed., Das Problem Mendelssohn (Regensburg, Germany: Gustav Bosse, 1974); see also James Garratt, “The Mendelssohn’s Babel: Romanticism and the Poetics of Translation,” Music & Letters 80, no. 1 (February 1999): 23–49.

(55) Joanne Cormac, “Liszt, Language, and Identity: A Multinational Chameleon.” 19th-century Music 36/3 (Spring 2013): 231–47.

(56) James Clifford, “Traveling Cultures,” in Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), 36.

(57) The term was used by Henry Louis Gates Jr. in “Hybridity Happens: Black Brit Bricolage Brings the Noise,” Village Voice Literary Supplement 109 (1992): 26–29.

(58) Exploring American literature, Paul Giles notes that the focus on the transnational (or international) flow and hybridity resulting from the globalization process can be a limiting tool for cultural critique, for it highlights the exceptionalist cultural identity of nations; see “Transnationalism and American Literature,” PMLA 118, no. 1 (2003): 62–77.

(59) Particularly in the field of popular music studies, the concept of cosmopolitanism has been mostly used in association with ideals of cultural hybridity, an approach that camuflages old-time essentialisms as empowering projects; see Thomas Turino, Nationalists, Cosmopolitans, and Popular Music in Zimbabwe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000); and Motti Regev “Cultural Uniqueness and Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism,” European Journal of Social Theory 10, no. 1 (2007): 123–38. Recently, Steven Feld has written about cosmopolitanism in Accra’s jazz scene with a more fluid approach; see Feld, Jazz Cosmopolitanims in Accra: Five Musical Years in Accra (Duke University Press, 2012). Jason Toynbee and Byron Dueck have edited a series of case studies of cosmopolitanism in popular music with fruitful results; see Migrating Music (Abingdon, UK, and New York: Routledge, 2011).

(60) Brigid Cohen, “Diasporic Dialogues in Mid-Century New York: Stefen Wolpe, George Russel, and Hannah Arendt, and the Historiography of Displacement,” Journal of the Society for American Music 6, no. 2 (2012): 145.

(61) Jim Samson, The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Music (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), 9–10.

(62) Simon Frith, “Music and Identity,” in Questions of Cultural Identity, ed. Stuart Hall and Paul Du Gay (London: Sage Publications, 1996), 108–27.

(63) Elaine Sisman, The Cambridge Companion to Haydn, ed. Caryl Clark (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 9, 11.

(64) For the cosmopolitan context of the music presented in Italian theaters, see Axel Körner, “Music of the Future: Italian Theaters and the European Experience of Modernity Between Unification and World War One,” European History Quarterly 41, no. 2 (2011): 189–212.

(65) William Weber, “Canonicity and Collegiality: ‘Other’ Composers, 1790–1850,” Common Knowledge 14, no. 1 (2008): 105–23.

(66) Gillen Darcy Wood, Romanticism and Music Culture in Britain (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 9, 161.

(67) Wood, Romanticism and Music Culture in Britain, 12–13. Gooley has shown how performers like Liszt explored the piano’s “universal” potential and his cosmopolitan stance in his performances in his attempt to bring “the entire musical spectrum of the present” under his performances. Gooley, The Virtuoso Liszt, 263. Jürgen Thym investigates Liszt’s Lieder, rather than his performances, as a cosmopolitan enterprise; see Jürgen Thym, “Cosmopolitan infusions: Lizst and the Lied, in JALS,” Journal of the American Liszt Society 54–56.

(68) Cormac Newark, “Metaphors for Meyerbeer,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 127, no. 1 (2002): 23–34. Taruskin makes a similar claim for Meyerbeer’s modernity, a “man of the 19th century,” whose work epitomizes nineteenth-century improvements in technology, transport, and communications; see Oxford History of Music, vol. 3, The Nineteenth Century, 228.

(69) Daniel Grimley, Grieg: Music, Landscape and Norwegian Identity,, 8. Laura Dolp, “Viennese Moderne and Its Spatial Planes, Sounded,” 19th-Century Music 33, no. 3 (2010): 247–69.

(72) Papastergiadis, Cosmopolitanism and Culture, 1722–36. Nicholas Cook suggests a similar approach to twenty-first-century musics, pointing to how electronic technologies have “opened up possibilities of composing, layering, and fusing global sounds on a purely aesthetic basis, without regard to their cultural or geographical origins”; see “Western Music as World Music,” in The Cambridge History of World Music (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 91. Cook had explored this idea earlier in “Anatomy of the Encounter: Intercultural Analysis as Relational Musicology,” in Critical Musicological Reflections: Essays in Honor of Derek Scott, ed. Stan Hawkins (Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2012), 193–208.

(73) “Biography: Sérgio Alvin Correa,” in Alberto Nepomuceno: Catálogo Geral (FUNARTE/Instituto Nacional de Música, 1985). See also Antônio Alexandre Bispo, “Momentos do desenvolvimento das reflexões Brasil/Noruega: Música e Nacionalismo nas suas inserções românticas a partir de Alberto Nepomuceno (1864–1920),” and “Desenvolvimento do ensino musical na Alemanha e o interesse pelas expressões tradicionais: Arno Kleffel (1840–1913) e Edvard Grieg (1843–1907),” Revista Brasil-Europa: Correspondência Euro-Brasileira 139, no. 3 (2012),

(74) Jornal do Comercio, July 15, 1913; cited in Flavio Cardoso de Carvalho, “A Ópera Abul de Alberto Nepomuceno e sua contribuição para o patrimônio musical brasileiro da primeira república” (PhD diss., Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 2005), 11.

(75) Recent scholarly works on the composer are mostly in Portuguese, the language of Nepomuceno’s country of birth, Brazil. A selective list includes Carvalho, “A Ópera Abul de Alberto Nepomuceno”; Luiz Guilherme Goldberg, Um Guaratuja entre Wotan e o Fauno: Alberto Nepomuceno e o modernismo musical brasileiro (Porto Alegre, Brazil: Movimento, 2011); Goldberg, “Alberto Nepomuceno: Vínculos modernistas no Trio em Fá sustenido menor (1916),” Música em perspectiva 3, no. 1 (2010); João Vidal, “Formação germânica de Alberto Nepomuceno: Estudos sobre recepção e intertextualidade” (PhD diss., Universidade de São Paulo, 2011); Vidal, “Nepomuceno e Max Bruch: Análise de uma (recém-descoberta) conexão,” Revista Brasileira de Música 24, no. 1 (2011): 129–53; Vidal, “Nepomuceno e Brahms: a questão da influência revisitada,” Música em Perspectiva 3, no. 1 (2010): 88–135; Norton Dudeque, “Aspectos do academicismo germânico no primeiro movimento do Quarteto no 3 de Alberto Nepomuceno,” Ictus 6 (2005): 211–32; Dudeque, “Realismo musical no primeiro movemento da Série Brasileira de Alberto Nepomuceno,” Anais do XX Congresso da ANPPOM (2010): 1042–047; Rodolfo Coelho de Sousa, “Aspectos de modernidade na música de Alberto Nepomuceno relacionados ao projeto de tradução do Harmonielehre de Schoenberg,” Em Pauta 17, no. 29 (2006): 63–81; Sousa, “Influencia e intertextualidade na Suite Antiga de Nepomuceno,” Música em Perspectiva 1, no. 2 (2008): 53–82; Sousa, “A ‘Bar form’ nas canções de Nepomuceno,” Revista Eletrônica de Musicologia 11 (2007): 7–17; and Sousa, “A influência do simbolismo nas obras de Nepomuceno,” in Atualidade da ópera (Rio de Janeiro: UFRJ, 2012), 223–32.

(76) Dante Pignatari, “Canto da língua: Alberto Nepomuceno e invenção da canção Brasileira” (PhD diss., São Paulo University, 2009), 43.

(77) Vidal offers an excellent summary of the uses of the concept of intertextuality in musicology and its usefulness in the study of Nepomuceno’s music; see “Formação germânica de Alberto Nepomuceno,” 61–71.

(80) Jonathan Wipplinger, “The Aural Shock of Modernity: Weimar’s Experience of Jazz,” Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory 82, no. 4 (2007): 304. Wipplinger draws on Theodor Adorno’s “Music in the Background,” in Essays on Music, ed. Richard Leppert, trans. Susan Gillespie (Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 506–9.

(81) Melba Cuddy-Keane, “Modernism, Geopolitics, Globalization,” Modernism/Modernity 10, no. 3 (2003): 546, cited in Walkowitz, Cosmopolitan Style, 2.

(82) Althought addressing a later period, Walkowitz’s main ideas on cosmopolitanism and artistic reflection and creativity are also useful in the context of Nepomuceno; see Cosmopolitan Style, 1–32.Cohen suggests a similar path in Stephen Volpe’s musical engagements with mid-twentieth-century New York’s intellectual scene; see “Diasporic Dialogues in Mid-Century New York,” 160, and 169–70.

(83) Here I also share Walkowitz’s claim that these “extra connections” or “entanglements” serve “not simply [to] offer alternatives to national affiliation…. [T]hey attempt to make national cultures less homogeneous.” Walkowitz, Cosmopolitan Style, 24–25.

(84) Rodolfo Coelho de Sousa, “Nepomuceno e a gênese da canção de camera brasileira,” Música em perspectiva 3, no. 1 (2010): 38; for a relationship between Nepomuceno and Schoenberg, see Sousa, “Aspectos de modernidade na música de Alberto Nepomuceno,” 73.

(85) Theodor Adorno, “Music in the Background,” in Essays on Music, ed. Richard Leppert, trans. Susan Gillespie (Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 509.

(87) I am paraphrasing Susan MacClary’s prognostic for the study of twentieth-century music; see Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 196.