Intimacy, Performance, and the Lied in the Early Nineteenth Century

Intimacy, Performance, and the Lied in the Early Nineteenth Century

Jennifer Ronyak
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/01/2018
Format: Hardback 70 music exx.
ISBN: 978-0-253-03577-6
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The German lied, or art song, is considered one of the most intimate of all musical genres—often focused on the poetic speaker’s inner world and best suited for private and semi-private performance in the home or salon. Yet, problematically, any sense of inwardness in lieder depends on outward expression through performance.

With this paradox at its heart, Intimacy, Performance, and the Lied in the Early Nineteenth Century explores the relationships between early nineteenth-century theories of the inward self, the performance practices surrounding inward lyric poetry and song, and the larger conventions determining the place of intimate poetry and song in the public concert hall. Jennifer Ronyak studies the cultural practices surrounding lieder performances in northern and central Germany in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, demonstrating how presentations of lieder during the formative years of the genre put pressure on their sense of interiority. She examines how musicians responded to public concern that outward expression would leave the interiority of the poet, the song, or the performer unguarded and susceptible to danger. Through this rich performative paradox Ronyak reveals how a song maintains its powerful intimacy even during the inherent publicness of its performance.

Author Bio

Jennifer Ronyak is Senior Scientist in Musicology at the Institut für Musikästhetik of the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz.


“Through a series of carefully selected case studies [Ronyak] recontextualises the many ways in which an ideology of intimacy became significant in the interpretation of early nineteenth-century German song.”
 — Laura Tunbridge, author of Schumann’s Late Style

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Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations


1. Safeguarding the Self

2. Breathing Subjectivity

3. Serious Play in the Salon

4. The Poetic Public Sphere

5. Lieder in an Aria’s Clothing

6. Mignon as Public Property