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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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(p.94) 15 Boieldieu
Berlioz on Music

Katherine Kolb

Oxford University Press

In Berlioz’s Memoirs, we meet Boieldieu as one of the Conservatoire professors who stood in the way of progress. This old-school Frenchman liked his music “soothing,” when Berlioz wanted music to set him on fire. As a student, he had in fact delighted in Boieldieu’s lively operas; he evokes the composer’s decline and death with genuine nostalgia. Most of the review concerns the music for the funeral and the practical arrangements for it—such as the need for permission to have women sing in church, and problems of acoustics. Berlioz dwells on Cherubini’s Requiem, which he describes with contagious excitement. He also reports the unruly behavior of the crowd during the ceremony, implicitly pointing up two opposing faces of “the people”: the crowd ennobled through group performance; the rowdy mob that, given haunting memories of the Terror of 1793, must be kept well under control.

Keywords:   Boieldieu, Cherubini Requiem, Choron, choral music, women singers, church, audience behavior

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