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Camille Saint-SaënsOn Music and Musicians$
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Roger Nichols

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320169

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320169.001.0001

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Jacques Offenbach II

Jacques Offenbach II

(Ecole buissonnière, Pierre Lafitte, 1913, 301–307)

22 Jacques Offenbach II
Camille Saint-Saëns

Roger Nichols

Oxford University Press

In speaking of Offenbach, the author did justice to his marvelous natural gifts and deplored the way he had squandered them. He was proven wrong as Offenbach came back into fashion. As the public cannot bring itself to do without gaiety, it turned to operetta and, naturally, to the man who was its creator and prolific purveyor. The word “purveyor” is not out of place, because Offenbach was not interested in creating art; gifted as he was with comic verve and an unquenchable fount of tunefulness, his only idea was to feed the theatre of which he was simultaneously the director and, to all intents and purposes, the exclusive composer. But harmonic inventions are rare in Offenbach. What makes him interesting is a richness and fertility of melodic invention that has few equals. He used to improvise endlessly, and at extraordinary speed.

Keywords:   Jacques Offenbach, operetta, improvise, theatre

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