The Opera Orchestra in 18th- and 19th- Century Europe, Volume 1

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Niels Martin Jensen, Franco Piperno
BWV, Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2008 - Opera - 658 pages
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Studies of the orchestra in general, as a unified whole and of orchestras in different places, are numerous. The opera orchestra, however, has had less than its share of this field of research. These studies of opera orchestras in different countries, capitals, cities, provinces and courts contribute to an expanded knowledge, not only of the historical development and institutionalization of a variety of individual orchestras some of which have scarcely been studied before, but also of the typology, or typologies, of the opera orchestra of the 18th and 19th centuries that evolved out of the development of individual orchestras through the ages. Part one of The Opera Orchestra in 18th- and 19th-Century Europe is made up of case studies of individual orchestras. The emphasis is placed upon the professional, financial and social conditions of the musicians within these orchestras and justifies the subtitle of the volumes, The Orchestra in Society. It was impossible - and indeed to some extent not useful - to cover the whole of modern Europe, country by country, within this project. Instead, different regions in which opera flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries have been selected for part one, in order to reproduce and synthesize the geography of European opera, and by consequence that of European theatres and orchestras, as a complex cultural, social and economical system in which internal relationships and influences depended on several heterogeneous factors (e.g. politics, diplomacy, dynastic relations, migration and fashion). The selection was also intended to embrace different types of theatres and of opera production: court, state, municipal as well as commercial theatres.

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