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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31925

Title: Zelter, Goethe and the Emergence of a German Choral Canon
Authors: Rutledge, Anna
Advisor: Parker, Mary Ann
Elliott, Robin
Department: Music
Keywords: Zelter
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2012
Abstract: This thesis examines the dialogue between Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758-1832) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) on choral music and the role they envisioned for it within a national German repertory. The primary source for this examination is the voluminous correspondence between the two men, which spans almost 900 letters and over thirty years. In the correspondence, they discuss choral music both as an abstract and practical art. In addition, Zelter’s descriptions of concerts that he performed in and attended form a valuable record of musical life in Berlin in the early nineteenth-century. To show the importance of choral music within the correspondence, this thesis is divided into three parts: an examination of Zelter and Goethe’s engagement with (choral) music; their respective choral organizations; and two musical case studies that show the application of their discussions. The first segment allows for a fuller understanding of how choral music fit in Zelter and Goethe’s larger artistic endeavours. This context is especially important given their marginal musical legacies, which have contributed to the scholarly neglect of their discourse on choral music. The second segment examines Zelter’s work with the Berlin Sing-Akademie in detail, focussing on its performance practice, membership, and audience. This examination shows that contrary to the oft-repeated claim that the Sing-Akademie did not regularly perform in public until 1829, the chorus in fact sang for a wide audience on a regular basis from the early 1800s on. The third segment provides case studies on the music of J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel. Goethe and Zelter’s dialogue about the two composers is considered, along with their practical engagement with the repertoire. Further, the Sing-Akademie’s performance history of both composers is examined. In sum, this thesis demonstrates the central role of historical choral music in the correspondence of Goethe and Zelter; their interest in older German choral music is shown to have had a profound impact on the music performed by similar organizations across Germany.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31925
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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