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The Musical Diplomacy of Metternich

In: Diplomatica
Author: Damien Mahiet1
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Abstract

That festivities are woven into the historical image of the Austrian diplomat, foreign minister, and state chancellor Clemens von Metternich (1773–1859) is in part the byproduct of his investment in music. As an amateur performer, passionate connoisseur, attentive patron, and frequent host, Metternich cultivated an international soundworld that presented opportunities for cooperative performances. Ensemble music and collective listening provided experiences of international concert that gained significance in the context of multilateral congresses and meetings. Musical exchanges, sustained through the activity of women and professional musicians, contributed to fostering diplomatic relations and international presence. In the context of the Restoration’s competing soundworlds, Metternich deployed a patronage of Rossini’s work and Italian opera music, with increasing intensity but mixed effect. This history speaks to the function of music in the presentation of self in international encounters and the resources to be found in the plurality of roles diplomats perform.

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