Nation and Classical Music: A Perspective from the City

Benedikte Brincker

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


    The last book Anthony D. Smith wrote before he died, and which will be published in Spring 2017, has the title Nation and Classical Music. Smith had for a long time been intrigued by the intimate relationship between the nation and classical music. At the most manifest level it involves the romantic operas of Guiseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner and most people will recognize Verdi’s ode to the fatherland in the slave choir of Nabucco. Probably many will also recall the efforts of among others Vaughan Williams, Bela Bartok and Carl Nielsen to collect folk songs and tunes, seeking to integrate them into their compositions thus challenging the romantic musical style searching for an authentic national musical expression. Against the backdrop of the extensive research carried out by Anthony Smith into the relationship between the nation and classical music, the present paper seeks to add an additional dimension to this puzzle; the perspective of the city. The paper focuses on significant European cities: Vienna and Paris during the fin-du-siecle, and analyses how composers from all over Europe got inspired during their journeys and extended stay in these cities that were at the time European cultural centers. In doing this, the paper seeks to unfold how composers channeled musical inspiration embedded in cultural environments that cut across national boundaries into national musical traditions thus catering to specific national audiences. The paper is written as a tribute to a great mentor and friend, Professor Anthony D. Smith.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2017
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventAnthony D. Smith and the Future of Nationalism: Ethnicity, Religion and Culture: The 27th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) - London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom
    Duration: 27 Mar 201728 Mar 2017
    Conference number: 27


    ConferenceAnthony D. Smith and the Future of Nationalism: Ethnicity, Religion and Culture
    LocationLondon School of Economics
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    SponsorLondon School of Economics and Political Science
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