Thursday Lecture Series: Hide and Seek

Orchestration in Exile

Thursday, The Heyman Center

The late eighteenth century witnessed the birth of modern orchestration—
the art of manipulating the diverse instruments that
constitute the orchestra. This development, which depended on
technological, institutional, and compositional transformations, signaled
the inauguration of a radical new attention to the sensual
and immediate experience of listening. Strikingly, most discussions
by critics and composers of the various effects afforded by instruments
and their combinations were explicitly negative, targeted
against musical bombast and the proliferation of noise; in the late
Enlightenment, orchestration was untamed. Professor Dolan’s talk
traced the disciplining of the orchestra over the course of the nineteenth
century, exploring how the idea of orchestration became
marginalized in musical discourse.