Thinking across disciplines: audience responses to Clara Schumann’s Dichterliebe at the Wigmore Hall

Loges, N. and Clark, T. (2019) Thinking across disciplines: audience responses to Clara Schumann’s Dichterliebe at the Wigmore Hall. Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception studies, 16 (2). pp. 38-67. ISSN 1749-8716

Abstract

Focusing on a single concert at the Wigmore Hall in February 2016, this paper explores audience responses to historically-informed concert programming from a dual perspective of historical musicology and social science. The concert programme involved the interspersing of a single cyclical work –Robert Schumann’s 1840 song-cycle Dichterliebe Op. 48 with individual numbers from other works, thus breaking up the anticipated sequence in a way typical of 19th-century concert programmes. The small-scale study established the general audience demographic for the concert, and then explored the role of several key factors on their appreciation of the concert, including their age, whether they played a musical instrument/sang, the importance of the venue, artists, repertoire, and finally the effect of the programme order and the historical authority which underpinned it. The writing-up process caused both authors to reflect on the challenges of exploring such phenomena from different epistemological perspectives.

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