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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: Concerts

Music Review: Concerts

Beethoven, Cherubini, Hauman, Ponchard

Chapter:
(p.61) 8 Music Review: Concerts
Source:
Berlioz on Music
Author(s):

Katherine Kolb

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391950.003.0009

This piece begins with performance reviews that remind us of the way women performers in Berlioz’s day were often treated: audiences—and critics—had trouble getting past their looks. Competence silences laughter with Mme. Filipowicz, a violinist; a trivial repertoire and style, on the contrary, provoke it further with Mlle Mayer, a flutist. Praise of the violinist Hauman’s expressive playing leads into Berlioz’s first extended analysis of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, whose first movement is strikingly presented as a musical translation of Shakespeare’s Othello. Berlioz’s entire critique of the work bears a strong literary cast, as if ordinary words could not convey the depth of his admiration. At the end of the piece, he pays glowing tribute to the singer Ponchard, who in a work by Cherubini did the impossible: he performed after Beethoven without breaking the spell.

Keywords:   Beethoven Fifth Symphony, Shakespeare Othello, Cherubini Les Abencérages, Hauman, Ponchard, women performers

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