Music at German Courts, 1715–1760 – Changing Artistic Priorities

Edited by Samantha Owens, Barbara M. Reul and Janice Stockigt
Boydell Press, 2015 ISBN 978-1-78237-058-3
xx + 484pp, £19.99

The hardback original dates from 2011. At fractionally under a third of the price, this is an excellent opportunity for students and researchers to own what remains an excellent guide to music throughout the German world between the dates given, with contributions by leading scholars on music in Berlin, Dresden, Darmstadt, Gotha, Stuttgart, Weissenfels, Zerbst and elsewhere. There is a wealth of primary source detail that is unrivalled in similar volumes which could make the text heavy going, but the writing (and translation into English where this was necessary) ensure that the narrative is always clear. So few books on the music of this period avoid concentrating on the works of a single composer; the broad expanse of musical life throughout Germany at this time is explored in all its guises. The volume also contains a foreword by Michael Talbot, an introductory essay by two of the editors on what constitutes a “hofkapelle” and a concluding article by Steven Zohn on musicians’ reflections on their lives at court in the 18th century. Essential reading for anyone working in this field!

Brian Clark