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Title: Aristocratic composers in the 18th century : the study of a category of composer and its relationship to the musical life of its own time and its reception by a musical establishment both in the 18th century and in more recent times
Author: McCulloch, Derek
ISNI:       0000 0001 3623 5379
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1990
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Though an acknowledged constituent part of 18th century musical life, no satisfactory collective study of the composing aristocrat in that era has hitherto been undertaken. The primary aim of this thesis is to identify as many dilettante aristocratic composers as possible, to establish how much of their output has survived, and where - especially in the case of manuscript survivals - the source material is housed. Postwar relocation, war loss and damage, as well as simple error in existing works of reference, have made the locating of source material in sane cases problematic, and the present study has been able to up-date sane of the information given elsewhere. Without entering into debate as to the qualitative aspects of much of the music, the study, in the light of the source material, has been able to question the factual basis of information given and judgments cast by reference works and scholars during the past hundred years, and to chart the reception accorded to some of these dilettanti by encyclopaedists, editors and commentators of the past three centuries. The thesis also notes and categorises the extent to which individual aristocratic composers related to the music of their own time. A secondary aim of the thesis is to attempt to explain why the 18th century saw such a relative profusion of aristocratic composers, and why - prima facie, the German lands were such a fruitful breeding ground for them, in comparison with France or Britain. While accepting in principle the fact that many of the composers here identified may well have sought the guidance of a "professional", the thesis assumes all works ascribed to "an illustrious hand" to be largely genuine, unless specific doubts may be raised. The pursuit of such doubts has led to the identification of mis-attributions in the case of Emperor Joseph of the Habsburgs, Frederick the Great and Prince Anton of Saxony. One "composer" is seriously challenged as being one at all, and an open verdict is cast in the case of another. On a more positive note, sane composers, and primarily Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, are discussed for the first time in relation to their musical talents, and new or unconsidered material has been brought to light in the case of Frederick the Great, Count Losy, and arguably Prince Johann Ernst of Weimar. Although the conclusion of this thesis must be that relatively few of these composers exerted any real influence on the evolution of music in the 18th century, the omnipresence of the composing nobility - especially in the musical landscape of the German lands - justifies the collective study of the genre.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature