The Last in our Series for Research at Work, Erica Buurman, one of our Senior Lecturers Talks about her work.
Music in the Viennese Imperial Ballrooms from Haydn to Johann Strauss
From 1792 to 1870, the Viennese Artists’ Pension Society held a lavish fundraising ball in the Viennese Imperial Ballrooms on the Sunday closest to St. Catherine’s Day (25 November). Many of Vienna’s finest musicians composed music for these balls, including Haydn (1792), Beethoven (1795), and later the ‘Waltz Kings’ Johann Strauss Sr. and Jr.
In August 2015 I visited the Society’s archives, which are housed in the Stadt- und Landesarchiv in Vienna. The archives include minutes of meetings, records of payments made to musicians, details of ticket sales, and promotional posters. These provide a fascinating insight into Viennese musical life in the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly in terms of the dance music profession which has previously only received very limited scholarly attention. They also provide insights into the tastes of the Viennese aristocracy: minuets and German dances were still being danced and performed in the Imperial Ballrooms long after they had been superseded by the more fashionable waltz in suburban ballrooms such as the famous Apollosaal and the Sperl.
In December 2015 I will present a paper on the Viennese Artists’ Pension Society annual balls at the conference Beethoven and the Last Generation of Court Musicians in Germany at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn (http://www.univie.ac.at/opernbibliothek/?page_id=571)
The Archives and The Imperial Ballroom ( Above)