This IAML conference has provided many highlights. I would like to try to connect a few of them to express an overall highlight. Coming to an area that has such a rich musical history has allowed me to make connections between historical figures, locations, organizations, works created and the collections that now preserve historical artifacts.
Many of the presentations illuminated the history of a composer, organization or collection. Stefania Gitto’s presentation “The Habsburg Lorraine’s music collection in Palazzo Pitti” covered not only the collection but how the Habsburg family helped to spread music and culture throughout areas that are now divided into distinct countries. A second highlight on this theme was my tour on Wednesday afternoon “On the trail of Haydn in Eisenstadt, Burgenland.” This tour provided the opportunity to put Haydn’s career in perspective as he served the Esterhazy family- the varying musical desires of different family members and the isolation experienced from being remotely located in Eisenstadt. The final highlight from the conference was the opportunity to attend an open house offered by the Musikverein. From this visit I could see connections between composers, as music manuscripts created by Robert Schumann have become part of the Musikverein’s collection through the estate of Johannes Brahms.
These three distinct highlights have brought the history that I have previously learned to life and fleshed out a history of which I was not previously aware. I am grateful to the IAML 2013 Vienna for providing all of these opportunities to place people and music in context through the variety of presentations and extra activities.
Becky Smith, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada