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Book Review

Volume 13 • Number 1

Spring 2006

 

Imperial Patronage in Beethoven's Vienna

 

by Tim Blanning

John A. Rice. Empress Marie Therese and Music at the Viennese Court, 17921807. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. xx, 386pp.

In this consistently engrossing and revealing study, John Rice rescues from obscurity one of the key figures in the musical life of Vienna during a particularly exciting if troubled time. Marie Therese was the eldest daughter of King Ferdinand I and Queen Maria Carolina of the Two Sicilies. So she was born into the deepest purple, her father being the son of the Bourbon King of Spain, Charles III, and her mother the daughter of the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa. In 1790, at the age of eighteen, she was married to her first cousin Archduke Francis, who succeeded his father Leopold as ruler of the Habsburg monarchy and Holy Roman Emperor two years later. Of their five daughters who survived infancy, one was married to Napoleon, another to the Emperor of Brazil, and another to the King of Saxony. After living through the ups and downs (mainly downs) of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, Marie Therese died from complications following the birth of a sixth daughter in 1807.

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