No matter the time period, people have always been wild about their music. The Victorians were no different with their musical obsession. One must remember, there were no earbuds, or cellphones, YouTube, or streaming. Music videos were not invented yet, but the musicians of their day did cause Beetles and Elvis-like frenzy . . . on the inside. Visible high emotion was frowned upon so there was a lot of restraint going on. But on the inside . . . they were going nuts, let me tell you! Often their diaries and letters conveyed what they could not speak of. In a world before Jay-Z,JT, and other Top 40, composers were the crem de la crem. Since the Victorians could not share music in the same manner we Moderns, can; they were big concert-goers. The exorbitant ticket prices have not changed, some exclusive viewings were by invitation only, and sold out venues were common. If they were rabid fanatics they would purchase the sheet music once it became available. I assure you, if merchants were peddling concert T-shirts at that time, the Victorians would have snatched them up! The 19th century concerts did not have the swaying lighters of the audience, in fear of a conflagration, no doubt. Giving the strict propriety of social decorum, they poor Victorians did not even sway to the music in their chairs or clap along to the beat or sing along with the band/orchestra. . . . but on the inside . . . they were wild for their music man!
Some of the chart toppers and rock stars of the 19th century are listed below.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
- Ludwig Von Beethoven (1770-1827)
- Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)
- Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
- Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
- Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
- Franz Liszt (1811-1856)
- Richard Wagoner (1813-1883)
- Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
- Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
- Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
- Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
- Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
- Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Oh, yes, some of these men lived Rock Star lives. Mozart’s antics are legendary. The groupies swarmed these men. Some of these composers were more solitary and tortured artists, but the majority were rather colorful characters and the press did what they could to document it all. And like every era; the older generation heartedly disapproved the “new sound” and the questionable idols their children listened to. Some things, never change. My question to you; who’s concert poster would you have hanging over your bed? As for me, I am a Tchiakovsky fan!