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Sentimentalism, Joseph Joachim, and the English

Sentimentalism, Joseph Joachim, and the English Joseph Joachim’s role in nineteenth-century English concert life is long celebrated. As yet unexamined, however, is how his performances and reception informed critical debates on sentimentalism. Joachim was a prominent celebrity in the domestic salons of mid-century, for example the Holland Park Circle, where his performances were described as perfect echoes of beautiful interior designs and his status confirmed by G. F. Watts’s famous portrait. This article builds on the relationship between “sublime sentimentality” and “domestic aestheticism” in the writings of John Ruskin, a prominent member of these salons. It explores how Ruskin’s idea of moving from domestic “sites,” through “patterns” to “states” in which the heartfelt is expressed in coded, synecdochal or allusive evocation, even in abstract design, can offer insight into the sentimental dimensions of Joachim’s salon performances. Crucially, Ruskin considered both domesticity and sentimentalism as designs and expressions of feeling which are capable of expansion into large forms and contexts, of moving from the intimate to the public. The second part of this article explores sentimentalism in works composed for the concert hall, provoking critical debate at the turn of the century. Tovey’s Victorian tastes were strongly influenced by both Joachim and Ruskin, but Tovey’s assessments of Joachim as the violinist reached the end of his career exemplify the wide critical turn against mid-century sentimentalism. In 1902 Tovey praised Joachim for making no concession to public sentimentalism, in particular through demonstrating a “Classical” grasp of form, by contrast with those who seek sentimental effect through slowing down the performance of “beautiful” passages. In a late echo of Ruskin, Tovey desired that one must be susceptible to the beauty of “design.” The article ends by comparing Sargent’s late portrait of Joachim, presented at the Jubilee celebrations of 1904, with that of Watts. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png 19th-Century Music University of California Press

Sentimentalism, Joseph Joachim, and the English

19th-Century Music , Volume 42 (2): 32 – Dec 4, 2018

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Publisher
University of California Press
Copyright
© 2018 by the Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page page, http://www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints.
ISSN
0148-2076
eISSN
1533-8606
DOI
10.1525/ncm.2018.42.2.123
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Joseph Joachim’s role in nineteenth-century English concert life is long celebrated. As yet unexamined, however, is how his performances and reception informed critical debates on sentimentalism. Joachim was a prominent celebrity in the domestic salons of mid-century, for example the Holland Park Circle, where his performances were described as perfect echoes of beautiful interior designs and his status confirmed by G. F. Watts’s famous portrait. This article builds on the relationship between “sublime sentimentality” and “domestic aestheticism” in the writings of John Ruskin, a prominent member of these salons. It explores how Ruskin’s idea of moving from domestic “sites,” through “patterns” to “states” in which the heartfelt is expressed in coded, synecdochal or allusive evocation, even in abstract design, can offer insight into the sentimental dimensions of Joachim’s salon performances. Crucially, Ruskin considered both domesticity and sentimentalism as designs and expressions of feeling which are capable of expansion into large forms and contexts, of moving from the intimate to the public. The second part of this article explores sentimentalism in works composed for the concert hall, provoking critical debate at the turn of the century. Tovey’s Victorian tastes were strongly influenced by both Joachim and Ruskin, but Tovey’s assessments of Joachim as the violinist reached the end of his career exemplify the wide critical turn against mid-century sentimentalism. In 1902 Tovey praised Joachim for making no concession to public sentimentalism, in particular through demonstrating a “Classical” grasp of form, by contrast with those who seek sentimental effect through slowing down the performance of “beautiful” passages. In a late echo of Ruskin, Tovey desired that one must be susceptible to the beauty of “design.” The article ends by comparing Sargent’s late portrait of Joachim, presented at the Jubilee celebrations of 1904, with that of Watts.

Journal

19th-Century MusicUniversity of California Press

Published: Dec 4, 2018

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