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Canonical considerations – Johann Friedrich Reichardt’s songs for children and the late eighteenth century German national community
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Whereas national music has been acknowledged at least since the thirteenth century (Dahlhaus, 1980), nationalistic music did for obvious reasons emerge only with nationalism in late eighteenth century. Although closely connected, the relationship between the two is considerably more complex than is often acknowledged (Taruskin,2001). In the nineteenth century, national music was set a nationalistic task, expressing the national culture necessary as foundation for political nationalistic ambitions. Typically, these manifestations of national culture were conceived in prestigious art forms such as opera and symphony, aiming at canonical status. So far this has been the kind of nationalistic music that have received the greater part of the research interest. However, arguably more important for the national culture, was the emergence of nationalistic music in less prestigious genres, such as music for amateur choirs and children’s songs. Here, ambitions to actually shape a nation and its culture were asserted, and this was music with a much more active relationship to nationalistic ideas. So far, this music has unfortunately been widely neglected and is still in need of considerably more research. In this paper, I show how Prussian composer, writer and Kapellmeister Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752–1814) sought to influence and form the German cultural community with songs, particularly through collections directed specifically at children such as Lieder für Kinder (4 vols.), Lieder für die Jugend (2 vols.), and Wiegenlieder für gute deutsche Mütter. By singing Reichardt’s songs children were schooled into a German cultural community. At the same time the songs influenced and shaped also the character of this community.I further show how this practice was founded on a Herderian conception of national cultural communities. Following Johann Gottfried Herder’s (1744–1803) expressivist views on culture and language I focus on the active participatory character of the communities, and talk therefore specifically of expressive communities. Reichardt’s songs for children were composed specifically for such an expressive community, and were intended to be a natural and intimate part of the national cultural community. Ideally, they would eventually gain a sort of folksong status. In this way also these songs would obtain canonical status, albeit of a different kind than the prestigious nineteenth century operas and symphonies. Instead of the limited canonicity of the concert hall these kinds of works would become canonical through their role and position in society. This indicates a more complex nature of the canonicity concept than is generally acknowledged, something that is further explored in my paper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Musicology
Research subject
Musicology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-150759OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-150759DiVA: diva2:1170725
Conference
Rethinking the dynamics of musical nationalism, an International Conference, Amsterdam, 12-15 September, 2017.
Available from: 2018-01-04 Created: 2018-01-04 Last updated: 2018-01-04

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