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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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Musical Polemic

Musical Polemic

On Armide and Gluck

(p.30) 2 Musical Polemic
Berlioz on Music

Katherine Kolb

Oxford University Press

In an apt preface to his critical career, Berlioz offers here a brief description of the music critic’s task. Equipped with literary talent and musical expertise, he declares, the critic should analyze works in light of their guiding principles—rather than carp about minor matters in dilettante fashion, as in a recent journalistic skirmish apropos of engravers’ errors and echoes of popular tunes in Gluck’s Armide. Young though he is, Berlioz already exhibits the requisite skills, and with remarkable assurance for one so young, he turns them brazenly against the Parisian critical establishment, in particular the eminent Castil-Blaze, who signed as “XXX,” and whose post at the Journal des débats Berlioz would inherit ten years later.

Keywords:   Gluck, Armide, dilettantes, Castil-Blaze, satire, popular tunes, music criticism, musical borrowings

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