Category: Maximalism

too much music

Arthur Lourié on Berlin as musical capital

Here are a few excerpts about Berlin at the beginning of the twentieth century from the book Sergei Koussevitzky and his Epoch by Arthur Lourié (1892-1966). The author of the second biography of Koussevitzky described this book in his preface: “There was available an earlier biography of Koussevitzky by his friend Arthur Lourié. The value of […]

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4 April 1907

An overabundance of opera and solo singers on stage tonight: Two extra opera events start today. The Monte Carlo Opera Company has arrived for guest appearances at the Königliche opera house. Tickets are as high as 40 marks and those attending are asked to wear formal evening dress. The first work this evening is La […]

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Women are the problem!

In previous posts, I’ve quoted critics who saw a problem in the music world of “too much”–too many students, teachers, virtuosos; too many concerts, with too much music on the program, with pieces that were too long, too loud, too pretentious. Oscar Bie wanted to regulate the number of women who were conservatory piano students, […]

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Too many concerts by dilettantes?

In answer to the question of why there were too many concerts in Berlin (the topic of my previous post), some critics blamed the women pianists who only put on concerts in order to get “certified” as having braved Berlin before returning home to become a piano teacher. To test the validity of this theory/assumption, […]

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Again: There are too many concerts!

Who is to blame? The complaint that there were too many concerts in Berlin was familiar even in the 1880s; in the 1890s the problem started being diagnosed. The music critic Oskar Eichberg was convinced that the number of concerts had grown so much because they were being given for advertising purposes: musicians playing in the […]

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The physiological consequences of too much music

An overactive musical life of too many concerts has consequences. For Berlin musicians in 1907, especially soloists who routinely performed three concertos in a row and gave multiple concerts in the major cities every year, performance-related injuries must have been inevitable. I was interested, therefore, when I ran across a pamphlet from 1904 on “Überanstrengung […]

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The Berlin Philharmonic’s insane concert schedule

The first season of the Philharmonic began in 1887 with ten subscription concerts conducted by Hans von Bülow. The popular concerts also began at this time. Not only did the orchestra play these three times a week, but they were often hired by soloists who wanted to play concertos, or by conductors wanting to conduct.The […]

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