Abstract

The 178 letters, nearly all of them by the Halle University medical student and amateur violinist Adolph Müüller, published in 1874 as Briefe von der Universitäät in die Heimath, provide an opportunity to explore in detail one individual's uses of music as a means of social interaction, identity construction, and aesthetic cultivation and reflection during the first decade of the nineteenth century. The immediacy and self-representational nature of the medium of the letter result in a record that makes clear not only the variety of musical experiences at all levels woven into the daily life of a young German Büürger but also how his accounts of those experiences could help align Müüller with——and sometimes vividly over against——his family. Participating in and describing music in society as well as extraordinary works (especially Mozart's and Beethoven's) that he came to value explicitly over conventional and socially acceptable music, Müüller provides a colorful if often inconsistent account of living with and coming to terms with that music in a daily context of aesthetic values, class and gender ideologies (the latter particularly evident in his musical encounters with Friedrich Schleiermacher), and the institutions and relationships that structured his life.

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