Martin Wulfhorst: “Louis Spohr's Early Chamber Music (1796-1812): A  Contribution to the History of Nineteenth-Century Genres." 2 vols.  Ph.D. dissertation in music (musicology), City University of New  York, 1995

ABSTRACT                                                                                                      Back

(published in Spohr Journal. The Magazine of the Spohr Society of Great Britain XXII [Autumn 1995], p. 10)

Uses concepts of structural historiography in order to examine how Spohr's aesthetics, performing career, teaching, and relations to publishers  affected his response to the conventions of the classical, quartet and of four virtuosic genres: the violin duet, the short display piece (rondo, fantasy, paraphrase-potpourri, variation set, variation-potpourri), the concertant harp-violin sonata, and the quatuor brillant.

Spohr's enlightened maxim that the artist must serve society brought him to gear his chamber music to the contemporary mixed-program public  concert and `music party', characterized by a combination of education and  entertainment. But while he accepted some of the conventions of virtuosic genres, his enlightened principle that music must be "ennobling" led him to raise `low' genres to the level of substantial chamber music: he adopted, first, forward-looking, proto-romantic elements from French opera and violin concerto (bold chromatic harmony, individual, un-Viennese designs, exploration of timbre, melancholic and grand expression), and, later, "classicizing" elements (motivic development, smooth, classical form), which were integrated successfully in his early oeuvre but increasingly curbed the progressive traits and eventually led to Biedermeier style.

Additional index terms: 19th-century aesthetics, clarinet  music, transcriptions, Enlightenment, Masons, Philanthropinists, private concerts of the 19th century, compositional process, galant style, early romanticism, virtuosic music, sonata form, style of violin playing, performance practice, 19th-century music publishing, Klassizismus, Spohr: history of research and reception, Spohr: Die Prüfung WoO 48, Spohr: concerto form, Spohr: creative periods, linear analysis, Spohr: letters, Rode, Cherubini, Mozart reception, Beethoven reception, tuning, Brunswick, Gotha, Dorette Scheidler, Johann Simon Hermstedt.    Back