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Thread: Music in Austen's "Mansfield Park" in 1806

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    Default Music in Austen's "Mansfield Park" in 1806

    So, I watched the 1999 production of Mansfield Park with the family last night. A pet peeve of mine is when movie productions obsess over every period detail except the music. They always completely fork up the music or decide it's not worth giving up their utterly anachronistic title soundtrack. And there are viewers who also obsess over every visual slip but are completely oblivious to the Mozart being played in 1712.

    Anyway, the music in this particular movie is an utterly anachronistic melange of Mozart's 21st piano concerto, sans piano, and 20th century chord progressions.

    So, I started thinking about what kind of music, and which composers, might have been played at an evening soiree among the British aristocracy in 1806 at a Mansfield Park. They would probably play dance music. Would any of it have been European? If so, would there have been a slight delay in what music they favored? Probably not Mozart, but any Beethoven? Haydn? But there were also probably countless forgotten and regional composers they could have drawn on. I'm a bit of a music historian but this one has really got me stumped. What music would Austen have been familiar with?

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    There have been CDs of Jane Austen music played on original instruments released:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Songs.../dp/B000005MM9

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Phillips View Post
    There have been CDs of Jane Austen music played on original instruments released:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Songs.../dp/B000005MM9
    Oh cool! I had no idea CDs like these existed. And judging by the playlists, it looks like my guesses weren't far off. Interesting to see Pleyel. And of course! The piano maker would have been well known in aristocratic circles, along with Clementi. Lots of Haydn, as one would expect. I've also been looking on Spotify since you pointed this out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    Actually, I was thinking of Wesley, the English Mozart, but couldn't think of his name. To judge by the few CDs available, most of the music seems drawn from Europe.

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    I've often wondered about this. There are numerous mentions of music in the novels and laughs at the expense of those who boast of their (non-existent) love of music. Jane Austen played the piano every morning before the rest of the family rose (practising, I suppose, and not wanting to be a pest).To add to the above posts, I found this on the BBC ClassicFM site:


    Eight volumes of Jane Austen’s own collections of sheet music are still in existence today, two of which are written out in her own handwriting. Her albums also include songs by Handel and English composers of the day, as well as instrumental pieces by Corelli, Gluck, and Johann Christian Bach. ‘Che Faro’ from Gluck’s opera 'Orfeo ed Euridice' was another of her favourites.

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    I've often wondered about this. There are numerous mentions of music in the novels and laughs at the expense of those who boast of their (non-existent) love of music. Jane Austen played the piano every morning before the rest of the family rose (practising, I suppose, and not wanting to be a pest).To add to the above posts, I found this on the BBC ClassicFM site:


    Eight volumes of Jane Austen’s own collections of sheet music are still in existence today, two of which are written out in her own handwriting. Her albums also include songs by Handel and English composers of the day, as well as instrumental pieces by Corelli, Gluck, and Johann Christian Bach. ‘Che Faro’ from Gluck’s opera 'Orfeo ed Euridice' was another of her favourites.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alinde View Post
    I've often wondered about this. There are numerous mentions of music in the novels and laughs at the expense of those who boast of their (non-existent) love of music. Jane Austen played the piano every morning before the rest of the family rose (practising, I suppose, and not wanting to be a pest).To add to the above posts, I found this on the BBC ClassicFM site:


    Eight volumes of Jane Austen’s own collections of sheet music are still in existence today, two of which are written out in her own handwriting. Her albums also include songs by Handel and English composers of the day, as well as instrumental pieces by Corelli, Gluck, and Johann Christian Bach. ‘Che Faro’ from Gluck’s opera 'Orfeo ed Euridice' was another of her favourites.
    Really interesting. Thanks. Wonder if it was all transcribed for piano, or whether she site-read instrumental scores? I've been listening to some of her collection on Spotify. Am currently listening to a sonata by Ernst Eichner. Never heard of him but quite beautiful---like early Haydn but more mellifluous and just a touch of CPE Bach. Going to have to find more of him and play him myself. I can site read music from that era. Once you start getting into the virtuoso keyboardists of the neo-classical and early Romantic era, my site reading ability crashes and burns.
    Last edited by vtpoet; Feb-17-2020 at 16:55.

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    I am not sure how things were as early as Austin's time but by the early Romantic piano scores were one of the main ways that a composer could make money. They were the equivalent of recordings for their day so that people could listen to their favourite composers and pieces - all that was needed to fill a room with music was a piano and an educated (and ideally talented) girl.

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