Between about 1750 and 1800, concerts of any significance usually included several numbers from opera, within strictly patterned “miscellaneous” programs. Around 1800, when the political condition of European society was particularly unstable, idealists began to challenge this old order of musical life, calling for a new, “higher” order of programming and musical taste. Distinct musical worlds evolved from this movement. Some concerts focused almost entirely on opera, or on excerpts from old operas, and others abandoned opera altogether. Chamber music and orchestral concerts tended to draw exclusively from repertories comprised of works from the classical era.

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