This individual project focuses on studying the Parisian reception of the Second Viennese School through records of concert performances. In order to build a collection of records as comprehensive as possible, I referred to various primary and secondary sources, such as newspapers like Le Figaro, musical journals like Le Guide du Concerts, and monographs like L’avant-garde musicale et ses sociétés à Paris de 1871 à 1939 by Michel Duchesneau. As part of the larger project which also includes musical criticism and radio performances, here I am presenting a series of digital maps that I made using this collection of data and experimenting some musicological usage of digital interactive maps. These maps made of archival data and authoritative information hopefully will not only effectively render the historical facts but also provoke valuable research questions. For example, you may assume that there was very little performances of the Second Viennese School since much musicological literature is based on the premise that French and German-speaking musicians were antagonists during this specific time period. However, these maps actually present more performances than expected of music by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, and supported the idea that besides brandishing nationalism in their works and statements, musicians also routinely attempted to achieve open cultural exchange.
Overview: The Chronological Map
The first map is an overview of all concerts where music by the Second Viennese School was performed. The map features a time-lapse tool that shows all the markers on the map chronologically. Clicking the play button shows all the performances year by year. By adjusting the time slider you will be able to overview all the performances across various length of date. By clicking on the markers on the map, you will see detail information about each performance. The different color of the markers represent the composer, which is illustrated in the legend.
Besides what shows up on the maps, what does not is also important. You may find out that some years have no markers appeared on the map, which indicates no performances of the Second Viennese School took place those years. For instance, from 1914-1920 there is a gap of zero performance, which makes sense on account of WWI and the hostility between France and Austria/Germany.1
Explore: The Finder Map
Digital maps have so great a capacity of information that they can work like a interactive database for people to search whatever they are curious about. In the map below, for one of the first times in this project, you can search through information contained in the map, any word or phrase you see in the pop-up window, by typing in keywords in the search bar of the Finder App created by ArcGIS. For the moment, you can search piece title, composer, date, venue, street address and zip code in this map. In the future, after continuous refinement of the map, information like event name, host institution, performers and source of information will also be searchable.
Analyze: The Analytical Maps
Not only good at storing data, digital maps are also effective analytical tools that enrich the information for further professional studies. Digital map applications such as ArcGIS and CartoDB boast data analytical tools that generate analytical maps like below. You can switch between the two maps using the tab at the top of the interface.These two maps show the number of performances took place at each concert venue. In the first “Heat Map”, the color on each venue represents the number of concerts a certain venue hosted that had repertoire by the Second Viennese School. The lighter the color, the more concerts took place at this location. The second “Cluster Map” counts the number of performances took place at each venue and renders the result on the map.
1 Roger Nichols mentioned in The Harlequin Years a “Ligue national pour la defense de la musique française” formed during the war by Saint-Saëns, d’Indy and some other great active French musicians, which Nichols renamed as “a league pour la proscription de la musique allemande moderne.” About the prescription of Austrian/German modern compositions and the relation between music and politics in France during war time, see more on: Roger Nichols, The Harlequin Years : Music in Paris, 1917-1929 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 25.