From Dec. 3rd to Dec. 6th, 2015, the international conference “Beethoven and the Last Generation of Court Musicians in Germany” took place in Bonn, organized by the project team, Birgit Lodes, Elisabeth Reisinger and John Wilson in cooperation with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, represented by Christine Siegert and Malte Boecker, and with financial support from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. During four intensive days, international experts discussed processes in musical life during the late 18th and early 19th century and their significance for the involved people.
Participants of the conference (from left: Friederike Wißmann, John A. Rice, Stephen Whiting, Estelle Joubert, Rita Steblin, Mark Evan Bonds, Mark Kroll, Malte Boecker, Birgit Lodes, John Wilson, Erica Buurman, Bernhard Appel, Thomas Betzwieser, Arnold Jacobshagen, Melanie Unseld, Elisabeth Reisinger, Julia Ronge, Armin Raab, Christine Siegert)
The conference opened with the presentation of the results of the research project “The Operatic Library of Elector Maximilian Franz” and the keynote lecture of Mark Evan Bonds, titled “The Court of Public Opinion: The Crafting of Compositional Identity, 1780-1820”. The following three days were dedicated to four sessions:
Court Opera – Macro and Micro Perspectives
Social Change and the Emerging Music Market
Musical Careers – Networking, Bloodlines, and Personal Inclination
International Cosmopolitanism and Stylistic Continuities during the “Beethoven Generation”
The conference gave an important impetus for further research into the last decades of the 18th and the first decades of the 19th century, not only based on the often-discussed assumption that this was a time of great changes, but with a differentiated perspective – what exactly changed, and what of the old order remained? The phrase “Last Generation of Court Musicians” was carefully chosen to be consciously provocative and during the conference it was challenged several times – correctly: continuities can be noted until at least the first half of the 19th century.
The papers will be published in a volume in the series Schriften zur Beethoven-Forschung of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn.
Click here for the detailed conference program
Click here for the conference report by Julia Ackermann in “Die Musikforschung”
Click here for the conference report by Elisabeth Reisinger on “H-Soz-Kult”
Click here for the conference report by Estelle Joubert in Eighteenth-Century Music (paywall)