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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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Concert Society of the Conservatoire

Concert Society of the Conservatoire

First Concert

(p.41) 4 Concert Society of the Conservatoire
Berlioz on Music

Katherine Kolb

Oxford University Press

This piece begins with a paean to the great Conservatoire orchestra founded by Habeneck in 1828, and recounts its arduous early efforts to master Beethoven’s symphonies. To Berlioz, an orchestra is like a well-disciplined army, and those early struggles—which he could appreciate from having attended many of the rehearsals—elicit a comparison between the musicians’ ultimate illumination and the first sighting by Napoleon’s soldiers of the Egyptian pyramids. In this first article that Berlioz signs with his full name, he takes us through a varied, uneven program at the Conservatoire, including two works by Weber, a wind quintet by Reicha, a Credo by Cherubini, an overture by a pupil of Beethoven, and—the great highlight—a performance of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, described movement by movement in picturesque, loving detail.

Keywords:   Conservatoire Orchestra, Habeneck, Napoleon, Egypt, Weber Freischütz, Reicha, Cherubini Credo, Ries Brigand’s Bride, Beethoven Pastoral Symphony

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