Sovereign Feminine: Music and Gender in Eighteenth-Century by Matthew Head

By Matthew Head

Within the German states within the overdue eighteenth century, girls flourished as musical performers and composers, their achievements measuring the growth of tradition and society from barbarism to civilization. lady excellence, and similar feminocentric values, have been celebrated via forward-looking critics who argued for song as a good artwork, an element of recent, well mannered, and advertisement tradition, instead of a logo of institutional energy. within the eyes of such critics, femininity—a newly rising and essentially bourgeois ideal—linked girls and tune lower than the valorized indicators of refinement, sensibility, advantage, patriotism, luxurious, and, especially, good looks. This second in musical background was once eclipsed within the first many years of the 19th century, and finally erased from the music-historical checklist, by way of now widespread advancements: the formation of musical canons, a musical background according to technical development, the assumption of masterworks, authorial autonomy, the musical chic, and aggressively essentializing principles concerning the dating among intercourse, gender and paintings. In Sovereign female, Matthew Head restores this previous musical historical past and explores the function that girls performed within the improvement of classical track.

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Extra resources for Sovereign Feminine: Music and Gender in Eighteenth-Century Germany

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Woman continued as a cherished sign, but signs themselves lost ground, becoming objects of nostalgia in a philosophical and aesthetic culture that ultimately valued the unsignifiable, the invisible, the otherworldly, the sublime. Introduction 7 F E M A L E S OV E R E IG N T Y A N D T H E N O T IO N O F E N L IG H T E N M E N T My emphasis on the positive status both of women and of the feminine in a particular moment of German cultural history goes against the grain of much of the current thinking about gender in this period.

The leading German physiologist of the period, J. F. 11 Ackermann’s comments put an entirely different complexion on all those portraits of the period—familiar now from postcards and costume dramas—that show literary and musical ladies at their desks and claviers. Seen through Ackermann’s eyes, such images banish superstition about female nature and install women, at least women of a certain class, in provocatively contemporary iconography. F E M I N O C E N T R IC I N N OVAT IO N S I N T H E L AT E R E IG H T E E N T H C E N T U RY La Roche’s newness inspired the new.

On her death her father, the playwright Johann Christian Brandes, and her close friend and teacher Johann Friedrich Hönicke prepared two memorials to her memory, a biography and a collection of her music, the latter titled Musikalischer Nachlass von Minna Brandes and published in Hamburg in 1788. ) These memorials situated her authorship in the contexts of pedagogy and education, the composition of occasional works for the home, and the solace offered by music amid bereavement and illness. The principal discourse was of death itself: Brandes’s memorialization shared with the 22 Introduction novels of Goethe a topos of the female dead in which the corpse (or its representation) is exhibited as a beautiful artifact.

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