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Article

Katherine K. Preston and Michael Mauskapf

[music management]

This article addresses the history of individuals and organizations devoted to the management of musical artists and their careers in the United States.

Musicians who toured the United States during the first half of the 19th century relied on individuals to manage their tours. Some of the most important early impresarios included William Brough, max Maretzek , bernard Ullman , and maurice Strakosch . These men travelled the musicians’ routes, sometimes with the performers and sometimes a week or two ahead, and were responsible for renting a performance venue, arranging publicity, and engaging supporting musicians and needed instruments. Managers also made travel arrangements, secured lodging, and negotiated terms with the managers of local theaters or halls. Some of these managers were themselves performers; the pianist Strakosch frequently toured with singers, and Maretzek was the conductor for his opera companies. This style of management essentially replicated the modus operandi of itinerant theatrical stars. (...

Article

Susan Key

Parlor music generally refers to music composed for domestic use from c1820 to World War I, consisting primarily of songs for voice and piano but also including compositions for solo piano as well as transcriptions and arrangements adaptable for a variety of instruments. Both vocal and instrumental music were aimed at an amateur market and intended for performance in the home, primarily but not exclusively by females. Instrumental music for the parlor was most commonly for piano or melodeon but demonstrated flexibility according to circumstances, with interchangeable parts for a variety of popular domestic instruments such as flute, guitar, or violin. The music was published in individual Sheet music editions, often with elaborate engraved covers. All aspects of the genre—music, texts, and the material cultural of sheet music and instruments—both reflected and affected the technology, social mores, and cultural values of this period.

The emergence of parlor music in the 19th century was a result of three interrelated phenomena: technological developments, the growth of the middle class, and changes in domestic architecture. Technical advances in the manufacture and dissemination of sheet music and musical instruments fostered music-making in American homes. In the 18th century, only a few hundred musical titles were published in the United States; the first quarter of the 19th century saw the publication of 10,000 titles, and the industry continued to expand until World War I. The growth of a middle class with more leisure time led to greater opportunities for music lessons and domestic entertainment. The 19th century saw sharp increases in the number and frequency of native-born music teachers who offered music training in school, home, and church settings. Finally, changes in domestic architecture created a room removed from the daily functions of cooking, eating, and sleeping, which served as a marker of social stature for Americans. Derived from the French word ...

Article

Susan Feder

revised by Michael Mauskapf

[Pop, Promenade]

Orchestral programs modeled after European promenade concerts of the 19th century, in which light classical music was played while the audience was served refreshments. The development of pops concerts in America reflected an emerging emphasis on the audience and an explicitly articulated division between so-called serious and light classical music propagated by conductor Theodore Thomas and others. Such concerts were traditionally structured in three parts, in which lively pieces—overtures, marches, and galops—were played in the outer sections while the middle section typically included waltzes and occasionally more serious works; encores were a regular feature. These concerts often took place in outdoor venues during the summer season, and featured audience promenades during the intermissions. Initially, works by European composers such as Rossini, Grieg, Liszt, and J. Strauss dominated the programs of pops concerts, but excerpts from musicals and operettas by De Koven and Herbert, among others, soon became a significant component. In general these concerts were understood as a vehicle to reach new audiences and broaden the appeal of orchestras and orchestral music....

Article

Karen Ahlquist

A male chorus festival (“singers’ festival”) in the German tradition. German Sängerfeste originated in the 1820s and by the 1840s featured choruses of 2000 or more, allowing Germans to cross boundaries of region, social class, and religion, develop a standardized male chorus repertory, communicate politically, and foster hopes for a unified state.

The Sängerfest in North America took off in the wake of increased immigration following the failed 1848–9 Revolutions. As in Europe, a Sängerfest was organized by a Sängerbund (federation of male choruses), the first of which, the Nord-amerikanische, was founded in Cincinnati in 1849. Others included the Northeastern (1850), German-Texan (1855), and Northwestern (1856).

A Sängerfest brought male choruses from a multi-state region to a host city for three to five days in the spring. It offered concerts, choral competitions, parties (including Kommers, or drinking parties), balls, picnics, tourist excursions, parades, and time for socializing by chorus members, host city residents, and festival attendees. Dozens of committees organized the event, sometimes even building a Sängerhalle to accommodate an audience of thousands. In some cities, public buildings were decorated and businesses and schools shut down for the opening parade, allowing an entire population to participate. Unlike pre-Revolutionary Sängerfeste in Germany, however, an American Sängerfest lacked covert political activity because of German immigrants’ loyalty to the US system of government....