18 Dec 2016

Interrupted Cadences - Falling on their feet

From The Sunday Feature, 2:00 pm on 18 December 2016

What if? John Drummond explores critical moments in the history of Western music when things might well have turned out differently.

Claudio Monteverdi - possibly

Claudio Monteverdi - possibly. Portrait of a musician by a Cremonese Artist (c 1570-1590) Photo: Public Domain

From the sixteenth century to the nineteenth, composers depended on patrons.

Four composers just happened to find exactly the right ones, at a time of crisis, and their support determined the direction of music history.

Like Monteverdi, Haydn and Beethoven before him, Wagner finally owed his position in Western music to the intervention at a critical moment of a powerful, wealthy and supportive patron.

His patron would offer not only financial security but also the opportunity to exercise his talents and skills with the minimum of restrictions.

It was these patrons, as much as the composers, who determined the future course of musical history.