Beethoven and Beer

John Koegel and Jonas Westover

in American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226769769
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226769776 | DOI:
Beethoven and Beer

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Some of the roots of the contemporary American orchestra were found in the nineteenth-century German American beer halls on the Bowery Theater. Majority of New York City's instrumentalists were German immigrants, and the musicians who played in the beer garden orchestras were overwhelmingly German. The highest level of beer garden was Broadway Garten. Carl Bergmann's “sacred concert” did not include a single piece of religious music. The sacred concerts were vital to the social and musical life of Klein Deutschland. Terrace Garden, which was regarded as the periphery of the main part of the city, presented musical and dramatic performances as well as dancing year round. Symphonic music by Beethoven and other classical composers as well as popular dance-inspired music by composers of light orchestral music were always accompanied in the German beer gardens by “fluent and luminous lager bier.”

Keywords: beer garden orchestras; American orchestra; beer halls; Bowery Theater; New York; Broadway Garten; Terrace Garden; symphonic music; Beethoven

Chapter.  8742 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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