The late eighteenth century witnessed the birth of modern orchestration— the art of manipulating the diverse instruments that constitute the orchestra. This development, which depended on technological, institutional, and compositional transformations, signaled the inauguration of a radical new attention to the sensual and immediate experience of listening. Strikingly, most discussions by critics and composers of the various effects afforded by instruments and their combinations were explicitly negative, targeted against musical bombast and the proliferation of noise; in the late Enlightenment, orchestration was untamed. Professor Dolan’s talk traced the disciplining of the orchestra over the course of the nineteenth century, exploring how the idea of orchestration became marginalized in musical discourse.
- Emily Dolan Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of Music Harvard University
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