The Haydn Economy: Music, Aesthetics, and Commerce in the Late Eighteenth Century
Nicholas Mathew (Music) reimagines the world of Joseph Haydn and his contemporaries, with its catastrophic upheavals and thrilling sense of potential. In the process, Mathew tackles critical questions about the history of the European Enlightenment and Romanticism, the relation of late 18th-century culture to incipient capitalism and European colonialism, and the ways in which the modern market and modern aesthetic values were — and remain — inextricably entwined.
The Haydn Economy (Chicago, 2022) weaves a vibrant material history of Haydn’s career, extending through his frenetic years as an musical entrepreneur and his final decade as a venerable musical celebrity, during which he witnessed the transformation of his legacy by a new generation of students and acolytes, Beethoven foremost among them. Ultimately, Mathew argues, Haydn’s historical trajectory compels us to ask whether we are able to extract European modernity's moral promise from its moral failures, as we confront the deep histories of capitalism that continue to shape our beliefs about music, sound, and material culture.
Mathew is joined by Emily Dolan (Brown). After a brief discussion, they respond to questions from the audience.