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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

The Arts

The Arts

Observations on Classical Music and Romantic Music

(p.34) 3 The Arts
Berlioz on Music

Katherine Kolb

Oxford University Press

In this manifesto for musical Romanticism, published three months before the premiere of his Symphonie fantastique, Berlioz brings music into the debates over Classicism and Romanticism that, in literature, paved the way for the artistic and political revolutions of 1830. For Berlioz as for Hugo, Romanticism means liberty in art; music is by nature the freest of the arts, argues Berlioz, though the most artificially fettered (like man in Rousseau’s Social Contract). Beginning with a carefully worded definition of music, Berlioz discusses its basic constituents—rhythm, melody, harmony, and expression; he then assails the rules and prejudices that have impeded musical progress. He honors Gluck as the first Romantic, because Gluck was first to break free of the rules. He ends with Beethoven and Weber, whose instrumental music embodies the ultimate musical freedom, with a transcendent power augmented by its independence from words.

Keywords:   Romanticism, Classicism, Victor Hugo, rhythm, melody, expression, harmony, instrumental music, musical freedom

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