The Regulation and Reform of Music Criticism in Nineteenth-Century England  book cover
1st Edition

The Regulation and Reform of Music Criticism in Nineteenth-Century England

ISBN 9781138288669
Published January 8, 2018 by Routledge
144 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Music criticism in England underwent profound change from the 1880s to the 1920s. It gave rise to ‘New criticism’ that aimed to be rational, impartial and intellectually authoritative. It was a break from the criticism of old: the work of the opinionated journalist who wrote descriptive concert reviews with invective, cliché, bias and bombast. Critics such as Ernest Newman (1868–1959), John F. Runciman (1866–1916) and Michel D. Calvocoressi (1877–1944) fostered this new school and wrote extensively of their aspirations for musical criticism in their own times and for the future. This book charts the genesis of this new wave of musical criticism that sought to regulate and reform the profession of music critic. Alongside the establishment of principles, training manuals and schools for critics, hundreds of journal articles and dozens of books were written that encouraged new criticism, which also had a bearing on scholarly writing in biography, aesthetics and history. The Regulation and Reform of Music Criticism in Nineteenth-Century England considers the influence and advocacy of individual critics and the role that institutions, such as the Musical Association and the Musical Times, played in this period of change. The book also explores the impact that French and German writers had on their English counterparts, demonstrating the internationalization of critical thought of the period.

Table of Contents

1. Contexts 2. Problems 3. Solutions 4. Style 5. Method 6. Legacies

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Paul Watt is a senior lecturer in musicology at Monash University. His books include Ernest Newman: A Critical Biography (2017), Cheap Print and Popular Song in the Nineteenth Century: A Cultural History of the Songster (edited with Derek B. Scott and Patrick Spedding, 2017), Joseph Holbrooke: Composer, Critic, and Musical Patriot (edited with Anne-Marie Forbes, 2015) and Bawdy Songbooks of the Romantic Period (edited with Patrick Spedding, 2011).


'Paul Watt's concise account substantially augments our comprehension of this neglected but important field of activity.' Paul Rodmell, University of Birmingham, Music and Letters