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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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Rossini’s William Tell (Part I)

Rossini’s William Tell (Part I)

(p.90) 14 Rossini’s William Tell (Part I)
Berlioz on Music

Katherine Kolb

Oxford University Press

When Rossini’s opera, in 1829, was hailed as a great new turn in the composer’s manner, Berlioz was dismissive. In this piece he reverses his stand, calling the opera a masterpiece (even if flawed), and granting it the privilege of a full-scale analysis such as he usually reserved for masters of the past. In this first of four installments on the work (the others may be found in the Companion Website) he discusses the famous overture. He acknowledges it as a major undertaking in the field of instrumental music, though inevitably falling short, who—be it noted—was revealed by the newly founded Conservatoire orchestra only one year before. For Berlioz, Rossini’s “storm” section in particular suffers by comparison with the storm in Beethoven’s incomparable “Pastoral” Symphony.

Keywords:   Rossini William Tell, William Tell overture, instrumental music, critical musical analysis, Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, Rossini vs. Beethoven

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