‘Kunstjünger’ and ‘Kunstfreunde’. Supporting and promoting Beethoven in post-Napoleonic Austria

David Wyn Jones


When Beethoven’s op. 1 piano trios were published in 1795, it was accompanied by an impressive list of subscribers, dominated by members of the aristocracy. Some twenty years later, in the period following the end of the Napoleonic wars, the nature of patronage was changing rapidly, increasingly shaped by influential members of a much wider society.
This paper will outline the changing role of the aristocracy in the last phase of Beethoven’s career and the correspondingly enhanced role of administrators, authors, businessmen and others. It was not, however, the case that the latter replaced the former. There was a shared view that public musical life should reflect the new confidence of the Austrian empire in the post-Napoleonic era, a view that had the benign support of the imperial court too. As well as presenting Beethoven as an Austrian composer, the newer patterns of patronage also helped to shape notions of musical ambition in a participatory culture.


David Wyn Jones is a professor of music at Cardiff University, UK. His scholarly interests are centred on music in Vienna in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, with a particular focus on the relationship between leading figures and the wider musical and social background. Recent publications include a study of Ignaz von Seyfried’s role in shaping Mozart’s image in the early nineteenth century and a study of Beethoven’s presence in the Austrian Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung of 1817–24. He is currently advising the British Library on its Beethoven exhibition, now re-scheduled for December 2020–April 2021. 


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