Music in Vienna 1900
- Johann Strauss
- Gustav Mahler
- WC: Alma Mahler
- Opera Singers
- Arnold Schönberg
- Music and Nationalism
- WC: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
This exhibit explores the connections between music and a plurality of identities in fin de siècle Vienna. The exhibit was designed for “Topics in German Art: Vienna 1900”, taught by Professors Christiane Hertel and Imke Meyer as part of the interdisciplinary 360-degree program. This exhibit seeks to present an examination of the impact identity has on prominent figures in turn of the century Vienna’s music scene. When looking at music during fin de siècle Vienna, identity presents itself as a very important factor in shaping musical culture. How well a piece or performance is received is not based solely on any individual’s talent. National identity, race, and gender all play important roles in shaping the way music is conceived in Vienna at this time, particularly in the way members of certain groups of people are conceived in popular stereotypical thinking, and the way that is abstracted to a person’s musical abilities. This exhibit will explore the works and lives of Johann Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Alma Mahler, various well-known opera singers, Arnold Schönberg, Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak, Bela Bartok, and briefly, Mozart’s lasting impact on Vienna.
Lise Chlebak, Allegra Fletcher and Emilia Marcyk
Form is an important aspect of this exhibit. The exhibit “floor plan” in this section is designed to carry the viewer through a series of “rooms”: The Johann Strauss Room, The Gustav Mahler Room, The Alma Mahler Water Closet, The Opera Singers Room, The Arnold Schönberg Room, The Music and Nationalism Room, which focuses on Czech composers Bedrich Smetana, and Antonin Dvorak, and Hungarian composer Bela Bartok and finally, the Mozart Water Closet. The use of the water closet spaces is integral as well to the overall theme of identity and the way this exhibit engages it. By placing Alma Mahler in the water closet next to Gustav Mahler, the issue of her relegation as a woman and the downplaying of her own abilities as a composer are addressed. With the Mozart water closet, this exhibit uses the space to tackle the highly visible lasting affect of Mozart on Vienna over time. Ideally the “floor plan” will aid the visitor in conceptualizing a cohesive and contained progression from section to section, or “room” to “room”.
This room is devoted to Johann Strauss II (1825-1899), the "Waltz King," whose works included operas, such as The Gypsy Baron (Der Zigeunerbaron), as well as the waltzes with which his name is always associated.
In addition to being an influential composer, Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was also a conductor, directing such ensembles as the Vienna Court Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic. This section wil attempt to combine these two sides of Mahler's career by showcasing Mahler and his 9th symphony (composing) and Mahler's performance of Beethoven's 9th symphony (conducting).
Alma Mahler (1879-1964), wife of the composer Gustav Mahler, was a prominent figure in her own right. This section, entitled WC (water closet), is meant to highlight the fact that Alma has often been dismissed as a composer, most notably by her husband.
In addition to the many composers, librettists, directors, musicians, and conductors of turn of the century Vienna, opera singers were also an important aspect of the musical experience. Through their singing and acting, opera singers brought characters to life and made them memorable. They were often multi talented, and many began their musical careers as instrumentalists. Listed here are a few famous opera singers during turn of the century Vienna.
In Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951), one can see the culmination of many different musical styles and influences. Both Brahms and Wagner, whose works were seen to be part of diverging musical styles, had an effect on Schönberg and his music. This room explores the connections between Schönberg's compostions and those of other artists, including Brahms, Wagner, Beethoven, and even Mozart.
This room explores the intersection between nationalism and the search for musical identity in the life and work of Czech composers Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884) and Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) and Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (1881-1945).
This room explores the lasting influence of W.A. Mozart (1756-1791) on Viennese musical and cultural identity.