Romantic Anatomies of Performancetakes as its subject the great virtuoso performers of the nineteenth century, examining the ways in which they thought of their own extraordinary gifts, the ways their contemporaries envisioned them, and how they have been imagined by history. It looks at the pianists and singers-Chopin, Rubini, Malibran, Nourrit, Donzelli, Thalberg, Liszt, and Sontag-who plied their trade in the leading musical centers of nineteenth-century Europe: London and Paris. Focusing on this musical circuit, J.Q. Davies engages with historians of culture and science in thinking about these cosmopolitan figures, whose emergence as international musical stars confronts issues of music and the body, particularly in period physiology, physiognomy, and sciences of the mind. Davies illustrates how musicians styled themselves onstage, how they trained, and how they presented their virtuosic physical abilities to contemporaries in light of competing traditions of healthy vocal and pianistic presentation. The book argues that debates about music are often actually debates about what counts as expression-not only emotional, but also physical expression.
Romantic Anatomies of Performance