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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

Chapter:
(p.52) 6 Music Review
Source:
Berlioz on Music
Author(s):

Katherine Kolb

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391950.003.0007

Berlioz uses Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Beethoven’s late quartets to measure progress in the Parisian public’s musical education. At the Théâtre-Italien, he finds some improved audience behavior: whereas no one used to stay for the “droning” of the Commendatore in the finale of Don Giovanni, now six out of ten fashionable boxes remain occupied. What an honor for Mozart, ironizes Berlioz, to infringe on the hold of bravura arias, romances, and vaudevilles, just as Shakespeare did on the bear fights popular in his day! Some day, he adds, the role of the Commendatore may even be entrusted to a first-rate voice instead of the weak singers currently assigned to it. Berlioz finds true progress in the popularity of concerts by Schlesinger and the Tilmant brothers featuring Beethoven quartets. Progress is especially notable among performers, when a viola part goes missing in a Beethoven quartet, he plays the part from memory. The Tilmant brothers’ skill is similarly praised.

Keywords:   Paris, musical education, Théâtre-Italien, audience behavior, Tamburini’s Don Giovanni, Mozart, Commendatore, Beethoven’s quartets, Urhan, Tilmant brothers’ quartet, Schlesinger soirees

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