Nation and Classical Music: From Handel to Copland

Matthew Riley, Anthony D. Smith

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book develops a comparative analysis of the relationship between western art music, nations and nationalism, bringing together insights from nationalism studies, musicology and cultural history. It explores the influence of emergent nations and nationalism on the development of classical music in Europe and North America and examines the distinctive themes, sounds and resonances to be found in the repertory of each of the nations. Its scope is broad, extending well beyond the period 1848–1914 when national music flourished most conspicuously. The interplay of music and nation encompasses the oratorios of Handel, the open-air music of the French Revolution, and the orchestral works of Beethoven and Mendelssohn, and it stretches on in art music to the mid twentieth century in Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Copland. The book addresses the representation of the national community, the incorporation of ethnic vernacular idioms into art music, the national homeland in music, musical adaptations of national myths and legends, the music of national commemoration, and the canonization of national music.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWoodbridge
PublisherBoydell & Brewer
Number of pages236
ISBN (Electronic)9781782048923, 9781782048572
ISBN (Print)9781783271429
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

Publication series

NameMusic in society and culture
PublisherBoydell & Brewer


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