Anja Bunzel

The Prager musikalisches ALbum (1838) and the Nineteenth-Century Salon as Cultural Practice

pp. 153–167 (English), 167 (English)

On 26 April 1839, the Prager musikalisches Album published by Ludwig von Rittersberg was described in the Berlin music magazine Iris im Gebiete der Tonkunst as "an honourable national work" (ehrenwertes Nationalwerk) and as "a representative of a truly capable German artistic school against modern trinkets, but above all against the kitsch trend which has recently [...] become popular in Vienna". In this article I contextualise the Prager musikalisches Album (published in 1838) music-culturally and historically, and, considering concepts of the musical work, I explore aspects of authorship and cultural agency surrounding the album. Drawing on the notion of music as cultural practice, I suggest that authorship may be shaped by composers, poets, performers, audiences, presses/ salespeople, dedicatees, critics, patrons, and anyone else who has an impact on any given work at the time of its creation and/ or publicization. By taking this perspective, I suggest that the Prager musikalisches Album is both reflective and representative of nineteenth-century salon culture, within whose context the album was perceived and reviewed in the print media.

Keywords: salon culture – Prague – Ludwig von Rittersberg – media representation in the 19th century


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