An Introduction to the Musical Activity of Reading-Rooms in Slovenia


  • Nataša Cigoj Krstulović



The Slovene musical activity during the years 1848 and 1872, while belonging to the extreme fringes of the Central European musical history of the 19th century, nevertheless shows a quite specific kind of transition into the early »Romanticism«. Its marked characteristic is to be seen in the reduction and retardation of individual forms and of stylistic underdevelopment. This was the period of reading-rooms, caught in time when its culture was existentially determining the emerging »small« nations within the Habsburg monarchy, and was that foundation on which nationally awakening speeches, talks, recitations, playing and singing in the Slovene language were gradually forming the awareness of belonging to the Slovene nation. This goal was being served also by the »functionalized« music, unsophisticated lieder, songs for four parts, and utiliterian choruses. Their authors were spurred on by patriotism, which at the beginning produced rather modest results (Flajšman, Vilhar, partly Kamilo Mašek), while the composers of the second reading-room circle (Nedvĕd, Gustav Ipavec, Jenko, Hajdrih) wholly or at least in part managed to wrest themselves from the bonds of diletantism, were more ambitious and musically already well informed. The purpose of the present discussion is, on the one hand, to enrich factual information with new data, and, on the other, to penetrate below this upper level of note-making and to perceive the network of historical, social, and musical development which would make it possible to more sharply draw the line between actual and relative belatedness. Although from the compositional-technical and the stylistic viewpoint Slovenia was still for a few decades behind the current European musical developments, this period of twenty-five years proved for the Slovene circumstances extremely important. It represented the transition from diletantism to professionalism and shaped the foundations for the process of a gradual emergence of Slovene autochthonous, national music.


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1. 12. 1996




How to Cite

Cigoj Krstulović, N. (1996). An Introduction to the Musical Activity of Reading-Rooms in Slovenia. Musicological Annual, 32(1), 61-73.