ABOLISH THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL - QUESTION MARK

By Derek Strahan BA Cantab (Modern Languages, French & Spanish)
   
 

Part 8 - COMPOSERS EARNING MONEY

J. S. BACH

Not all composers were able to secure patronage from the aristocracy. Johann Sebastian Bach tried, which is why we have the Brandenburg Concertos, written for the Duke of Brandenburg, who did not give Bach a job, and who does not deserve to have his name branded on these works, since he left the manuscripts of the Concerti abandoned in a back drawer, where they languished for two centuries, until the Baroque revival in the 19th century, in which Mendelssohn played such an important part. Here, as a rest from the sound of my voice, is the opening passage of Bach's 2nd Brandenburg , which features the brilliant tones of the so-called Bach trumpet, a small instrument in the key of C, higher than the usual instrument, and which is extremely hard to play.

(MUSIC CUE 1 - extract 1 st Movement of Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F)

Bach would like to have written opera, but the best permanent paid employment he could get was at the St. Thomas Church , Leipzig , which is why he wrote over 200 Cantatas, instead of an equivalent duration of operas which would have numbered about 60. By comparison Donizetti completed 65 operas, before dying prematurely of syphilis at the age of 51.

In previous eras composers were regarded as servants, along with performers: indeed there was not much distinction between the two, because composers were also performers and musical directors. The status of the composer was, in fact, not much better than that of a serf, a topic which can be visited in detail in an article at this website - "The Artist As Serf." The serf did not own the land he tilled. Are things very different today? Only since the introduction of laws of copyright at the Berne Convention of 1886, to which there have been numerous revisions. The US was not party to any multilateral convention until 1952.

As we have noted, copyright laws are of minimal assistance to painters, who habitually sell their copyright with the painting.

Taking music again as a case study, the period of Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven is pertinent to our topic, since it was at the beginning of the 19th century that the composer-entrepreneur emerged, doing deals with publishers while also soliciting support both from the aristocracy and from the wealthy bourgeoisie.

Next >>

 

 
Part 1 - Biography
Part 1 - Preamble
Part 2 - Agenda
Part 2 - Arts Organisations - History
Part 3 - Rise of the Committee
Part 4 - Radical Proposition
1. Direct support?
2. Funding?
3. Funding bodies?
4. Bureaucrats?
5. Not empowered.
6 Statistics!
Part 5 - Loose Ends
The Medici Program
Part 6 - No Reasons
Part 7 - Summing Up
Part 8 - Composers earning money
J.S. Bach
Josef Haydn
Beethoven
Wagner
 
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SEE ALSO
“THE ECONOMIC DISEMPOWERMENT OF AUSTRALIAN COMPOSERS”
“COPYRIGHT REFORM”
“ACADEMICS AS TERRITORIAL MAMMALS”
"MUSIC AS AN INDUSTRY "
 
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