Bias, Ridicule, and Commercialization: Social Implications in Victoria's "Land without Music"
Stovall, James 1980-
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Nineteenth-century England is today perceived as a “Land ohne Musik” (“land without music”). This label arose because England is said to have produced no first-rate composers between the time of Henry Purcell and Arthur Sullivan. Previous discussions of England as a “Land ohne Musik” have attempted to overcome this ignominy by pointing out the high points of Victorian musical life and the achievements of a few native composers. This thesis will focus, instead, on the social implications that caused England to develop this reputation. The discussion will first address the bias toward English musicians that existed during the nineteenth century. This resulted in a wholesale discouragement of English men from pursuing music as career. Secondly, the newly emergent music criticism industry will be investigated to show how those critics who promoted native artists failed in this task due to poor journalistic strategy. Finally, an overview of the massively commercialized musical market that developed during nineteenth- century England will demonstrate the overshadowing that foreigners had over native artists in the eyes of the leisured middle class.