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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

Beethoven and the Dilettanti of Bordeaux

(p.73) 10 Music Review
Berlioz on Music

Katherine Kolb

Oxford University Press

Reports of Beethoven’s “Eroica” being booed in Bordeaux prompts this piece, which starts by imagining, in the comic spirit of Molière, a bedlam of a Turkish concert that resembles, ironically, certain caricatures of Berlioz’s own music. Mockery of Turkish music and of Berlioz bespeaks ignorance, to be sure, but also devotion to distinct forms of beauty; Berlioz lucidly recognizes that no such thing as absolute beauty exists. Thus, painful though he finds it to admit, Beethoven’s admirers still number only a few. They are at least a vibrant and vocal few, and Berlioz uses this piece to trumpet his creed. Using Beethoven as his yardstick, he detects hopeful signs of progress in another town of France, Lyon, where the pianist Mme. Montgolfier understands Beethoven and works to propagate the Great and Beautiful as Berlioz understands them.

Keywords:   Turkish music, Beethoven, Molière, Mozart operas, fame and glory, provinces, Bordeaux, Lyon, Mme. Montgolfier

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