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The Haydn Economy

Music, Aesthetics, and Commerce in the Late Eighteenth Century

Analyzing the final three decades of Haydn’s career, this book uses the composer as a prism through which to examine urgent questions across the humanities.
With this ambitious book, musicologist Nicholas Mathew uses the remarkable career of Joseph Haydn to consider a host of critical issues: how we tell the history of the Enlightenment and Romanticism; the relation of late-eighteenth-century culture to nascent capitalism and European colonialism; and how the modern market and modern aesthetic values were—and remain—inextricably entwined.

The Haydn Economy weaves a vibrant material history of Haydn’s late career, extending from the sphere of the ancient Esterházy court to his frenetic years as an entrepreneur plying between London and Vienna, to his final decade as a venerable musical celebrity, where he witnessed the transformation of his legacy by a new generation of students and acolytes, Beethoven foremost among them. Ultimately, Mathew claims, Haydn’s historical trajectory compels us to ask what we might usefully retain from the cultural and political practices of European modernity— whether we can extract and preserve its moral promise from its moral failures. And it demands that we confront the deep economic histories that continue to shape our beliefs about music, sound, and material culture.

256 pages | 49 halftones | 6 x 9

New Material Histories of Music

History: European History

Music: General Music

Table of Contents

  Ringing Coins
  Haydn and the City
  Media, Motion, Connection
  Commerce, Interest, Objects, Work, Value
1 Commerce
  Importation of Haydn
  Warehouse Aesthetics
  Mobility and Credit
  A Resonant World
  New Addresses
  Music before the Cliché
2 Interest
  Taking Note(s)
  Psychic Investments
  Disinterest and Boredom
  Making Musical Interest
  The Fate of Interest
3 Objects
  Little Boxes
  Pursuit of Objects
  Objects, Animals, People
  Haydn’s Musical Objects
  Surface Fantasies
4 Work
  Chapel Master, Chapel Servant
  Liberty, Work, Stress
  The Work of Comedy
  Work, Property, Works
  The Creation Concept
  The Industry Concept
  Working Concepts
Epilogue: Value (1808)
  Of Time and Fashion
  Romantic Infrastructures
  Haydn Recalled
  Gold Is a Mighty Thing
Works Cited

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