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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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Sixth Conservatoire Concert

Sixth Conservatoire Concert

(p.154) 27 Sixth Conservatoire Concert
Berlioz on Music

Katherine Kolb

Oxford University Press

This is the most striking of Berlioz’s analyses of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, less for its evocation of the music, compelling though that is, than for its description of audience responses—a tale of fainting and sobbing, of cries drowning out the orchestra, of audience members rising en masse at the C major opening of the Finale. It was not the now iconic first movement but the apotheosis Finale, heard by the French as a Napoleonic triumphal march, that aroused such fervor. As for the first movement, this is the first performance at which, Berlioz testifies, it has begun to be properly understood. Following the symphony, the violinist Baillot performs two solo works by Beethoven and one of his own. The concert comes to a close with a brilliant rendition of the popular overture to Méhul’s Le Jeune Henri.

Keywords:   Beehoven Fifth Symphony, Beethoven and Napoleon, audience responses, Baillot, Méhul, fidelity in performance

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