The Necessity of Music: Variations on a German Theme

The Necessity of Music: Variations on a German Theme

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By Celia Applegate
German and European Studies
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
416 Pages
ISBN 9781487520489
Published Apr 2017
Online discount: 25%
 $39.95    $29.96
ISBN 9781487500689
Published Apr 2017
Online discount: 25%
 $90.00    $67.50
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781487511609
Published May 2017
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $39.95

In The Necessity of Music, Celia Applegate explores the many ways that Germans thought about and made music from the eighteenth- to twentieth-centuries. Rather than focus on familiar stories of composers and their work Applegate illuminates the myriad ways in which music is integral to German social life. Musical life reflected the polycentric nature of German social and political life, even while it provided many opportunities to experience what was common among Germans. Musical activities also allowed Germans, whether professional musicians, dedicated amateurs, or simply listeners, to participate in European culture. Applegate’s original and fascinating analysis of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Wagner, and military music enables the reader to understand music through the experiences of listeners, performers, and institutions. The Necessity of Music demonstrates that playing, experiencing, and interpreting music was a powerful factor that shaped German collective life.

Celia Applegate is the William R. Kenan Jr. Chair in History at Vanderbilt University


List of Illustrations



Chapter 1 How German Is It?

Chapter 2 Music in Place

Chapter 3 Musical Itinerancy in a World of Nations

Chapter 4 Music at the Fairs


Chapter 5 Mendelssohn on the Road

Chapter 6 The Internationalism of Nationalism in the Writings of A. B. Marx.

Chapter 7 Schumann’s German Nation

Chapter 8 The Musical Worlds of Brahms’ Hamburg.


Chapter 9 What Difference does a Nation Make?

Chapter 10 Men with Trombones

Chapter 11 Women’s Wagner

Chapter 12 The Past and Present of Hausmusik in the Third Reich

Chapter 13 To be or not to be Wagnerian in Riefenstahl’s Films

Chapter 14 Saving Music

"Professor Applegate’s insights into music, society and politics of the last three centuries in Germany are unique. She has an extremely fine sense of how all three interacted with one another. This book will be a valuable aid especially for students of social and cultural history."

Michael Kater, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of History, York University

"Celia Applegate is one of the leading practitioners of the socio-cultural history of music of modern Europe. Each essay is a significant and serious piece of scholarship that is beautifully written, combining sharp analysis with intelligible and engaging prose."

Anthony J. Steinhoff, Professor of History, Université du Québec à Montréal