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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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Virtuosos and Composers

(p.203) 34 Opéra-Comique—Concerts
Berlioz on Music

Katherine Kolb

Oxford University Press

What begins as a diagnosis of persistent woes at the Opéra-Comique, which cannot make up its mind whether to aim for progress or dwell in routine, turns into a quasi-novelistic comparison of two musical types: the virtuoso and the composer. Berlioz follows the virtuoso—such as the violinists Hauman and Ole Bull—on a picturesque trajectory from a fashionable salon and a first concert in which grotesque adjuncts cannot prevent his own talent from shining through, to provincial success followed by a triumphant return to Paris. The composer has it harder: once again, Berlioz takes us through his own obstacle-filled life as concert-giver, responsible for all details and all costs (a tale of bitter cold at a Conservatoire rehearsal, set in colorful dialogue, stands out). He ends with a litany of famous composers rejected by the Opéra, closing with the most famous of all—Mozart.

Keywords:   Opéra-Comique, Opéra, career of the virtuoso, career of the composer, Gluck, Hauman, Meyerbeer, Mozart in Paris, Ole Bull, Spontini

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