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Berlioz on MusicSelected Criticism 1824-1837$
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Katherine Kolb

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199391950

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391950.001.0001

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Music Review

Music Review

Concerts

Chapter:
(p.47) 5 Music Review
Source:
Berlioz on Music
Author(s):

Katherine Kolb

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391950.003.0006

Announced as a review, this article is really a chance for Berlioz to salute good friends—Chopin, Ferdinand Hiller, and Liszt—and to unburden himself after an abortive recent attempt to perform his Symphonie fantastique. Glimpses of Liszt and Chopin in the early days of their fame, along with intriguing details of their performance practice, precede a general lament over the trials facing a composer in France—especially a composer of instrumental music, or what Berlioz calls “music for its own sake, jealously independent music . . . music that you hear for itself, just music!” Not that operatic and church music, the more traditional forms of musical success in France, lack their share of pitfalls, which Berlioz rapidly evokes, notably the gauntlet-road to the Opéra via a “poem” and a “wordsmith.” The article closes with an account of the rocky, uphill road to the first performance of the Fantastique, an early version of the account later included in the Memoirs.

Keywords:   Hiller, Chopin, Liszt, Symphonie fantastique, Habeneck, pitfalls, pure music, Opéra protocol, operatic librettos

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