(“Le mouvement musical”, Letter to the Editor of La revue de l’art, Paris, 12 November 1897, Portraits et souvenirs, Société d’édition artistique, 1899, 221–229)
One important factor dominates the modern musical world: the emancipation of instrumental music, hitherto an underling of vocal music, and now suddenly taking flight, revealing a new world and setting up as a rival to its one-time dominatrix. Ever since the revolution that had Beethoven as its hero, the two powers have continued to battle without respite, each inhabiting its own domain: the opera and oratorio for one, the symphony concert and chamber music for the other. The struggles were fierce. Then as both sides suffered defections, the combatants gradually mingled, with the result that now confusion is everywhere; but the public appear to have lost interest in the fight; they rush from the operetta to the symphony, from the Wagnerian drama to old-fashioned opera, from German conductors to Italian singers. This bizarre eclecticism leads to composers being removed from any kind of protection.
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