restricted access 2. Something for Everyone: Maryland Music from Independence to the 1850s
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chapter two Something for Everyone Maryland Music from Independence to the 1850s A fter the American Revolution and especially after 1815, when a second war for independence ended, musical activities in Maryland reflected a rapidly changing society. Mass production and industrialization brought not only railroads and steamboats but also pianos and improved brass-band instruments. Partisan politics and social issues such as abolition and temperance found expression in sheet music as well as in stump speeches. As immigration added to natural increase, Maryland ’s working classes clamored for humorous and patriotic songs, as well as ethnic folk songs and dance tunes. Prosperity led to more urbanization and improved living standards , especially for people in the middle and upper income levels. Leisure activities, such as circuses, parades, and theatrical entertainments, attracted the rich, the poor, and many in between. Other gatherings, such as minstrel shows, barn dances, private balls, and domestic musicales, segregated the classes. Opera played a changing role, bringing different classes together before around 1850, then serving the upper class exclusively thereafter. Church congregations grew, split, and multiplied, hiring composerconductors who purchased or published and sold their own hymnals, formed choirs, andoversawthecommissioningandconstructionoffineorgans.Professionalmusicians competed for newly emerging opportunities to perform, teach, compose, and publish. Human nature dictated that despite rampant growth and change, certain colonial themes remained constant. The possibility of elevating themselves through lessons and domestic music-making drove wealthy amateurs and those aspiring to gentility. Prominent men still led Maryland’s militia groups, upon which the public so often called to supply band music at parades and civic celebrations. Social mores still limited women’s musical outlets, both at the amateur and professional levels. European musical styles and forms continued to dominate after independence, although each decade brought increasingly “Americanized” material. As early as the 1820s, touring white entertainers blackened their faces and mimicked African music and gestures. Thereafter a uniquely American genre emerged, reflecting social and racial tensions despite the superficially 38  Musical Maryland humorous lyrics and sprightly tunes. American sheet music, at times more serious and otherwise more sentimental but now wrapped in a simpler, more accessible style than that of the preceding century, answered diverse needs. From Cathedral to Camp Meeting After the Revolution, Baltimore supplanted Annapolis as Maryland’s social and cultural center. More importantly , it quickly emerged as a center for countless enterprises . The coupling of artistic and commercial growth sent the city into a musical ascendancy that continued for decades. Families that profited from shipping, manufacturing , and railroading found recreational outlets in singing clubs, public dances, concerts, and private soirées. The hardworking laborers who made them rich, whether from Maryland or neighboring states or newly arrived from Acadia, Saint-Domingue, France, Germany, or Ireland, filled a wide variety of ethnic neighborhoods, all of them ringing with diverse folk songs, dances, and hymns. Driven by rapid industrialization and technological innovation, Baltimore, no less than New York and Philadelphia, typified nineteenthcentury urban developments. Church music flourished in Baltimore. Throughout the new nation, religious groups after the Revolution worshipped freely under constitutionally guaranteed religious liberty. Church-building increased significantly, especially in larger cities, where wealthy congregations constructed grand, imposing structures. Competition over physical size spilled over into the realm of music, as seen in the trend toward ever-larger choirs, fancier organs, and more flamboyant music directors, who composed hymns, anthems, and sacred instrumental works. Such enthusiasm packed singing schools, and it fed the demand for sacred-music publishing. In Baltimore , swelling Lutheran, German Reformed, Methodist , Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Jewish congregations set ever-higher musical standards. Maryland Catholics in particular thrived following more than a century of repression. By papal decree Baltimore in 1784 became the seat of the Catholic Church in the United States, and in 1789 John Carroll, nephew of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, served as the first Catholic bishop in the United States. Significantly, Bishop Carroll approved the first American book of Catholic service music, A Compilation of the Litanies, Vespers, etc. This collection, published in Philadelphia in 1787, included materials in both German and English, with some lyrics, of course, in Latin. Bishop Carroll encouraged the use of vernacular hymns, and Masses in Baltimore’s Catholic churches were celebrated sometimes in English, sometimes in German or French. (Neither Carroll nor the pope himself, however , encouraged German Catholics to form separate congregations.) Baltimore Catholics in 1795 began planning the first cathedral in America. The architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, himself a clarinetist and careful observer of musical activities, located the...


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