Good Music for A Free People
The Germania Musical Society in Nineteenth-century America
A transatlantic perspective that illuminates the Germania Musical Society's crucial role in introducing a "classical," predominantly German, repertory of instrumental works into American musical life.
In Good Music for a Free People, author Nancy Newman examines the activities and reception of the Germania Musical Society, an orchestra whose members emigrated from Berlin during the Revolutions of 1848. These two dozen "Forty-Eighters" gave nearly a thousand concerts in North America during the ensuing six-year period, possibly reaching a million listeners. Drawing on a memoir by member Henry Albrecht, Newman provides insights into the musicians' desire to bring their music to the audiences of a democratic republic at this turbulent time. Eager to avoid the egotism and self-promotion of the European patronage system, they pledged to work for their mutual interests both musically and socially. "One for all, and all for one" became their motto. Originally published in German, Albrecht's memoir is presented here in for the first time in translation. Nancy Newman is Associate Professor in the Music Department at the University at Albany, SUNY.
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