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How Reliable Are Nineteenth-Century Reviews of Concerts and Operas?: Félicien David's Le Désert and His Grand Opéra Herculanum
Nineteenth-Century Music Review Pub Date : 2021-04-08 , DOI: 10.1017/s1479409820000488
Ralph Locke

The vast quantity of French-language music journalism and reportage in the nineteenth century can tempt us into citing one or another review that reflects our own view of the topic or work. We sometimes state or imply that a review stands for the attitudes and opinions of most musicians and music lovers of the day.

The idiosyncratic career of Félicien David was reported with great interest and vivacity by dozens of critics. Selected reviews reveal patterns that apply not just to David's works, but to nineteenth-century music generally. These patterns include: 1) the greater reliability of reviews by critics who were musically trained (e.g., Berlioz, Reyer, Gounod and Saint-Saëns), despite the possibility of bias; 2) critics sometimes conferring with each other before they wrote their review, or echoing each other's written opinions; 3) a willingness on the part of some critics to carry out a near-vendetta against a composer or work, whether for personal reasons (e.g., conflict of interest) or because of a deep-seated intolerance for any aesthetic and musical approaches that were at variance with the critic's own; 4) the sense of a positive mission, in writings by critics who were themselves prominent creative artists (see point 1); and 5) the power of a review to help determine the success or failure of a work, composer, or performer.

A recently published letter by Berlioz (translated here for the first time) reveals how conscious this remarkable composer-critic was of his own biases and aesthetic commitments, and how willingly he allowed them to shape his reaction to a new work by a younger, lesser-known composer. The responses of Berlioz and others to two works of David, Le Désert and Herculanum, provide the primary material for discussion. These responses include an insightful and previously undiscussed review (of Herculanum) by Ernest Reyer.



中文翻译:

19世纪对音乐会和歌剧的评论的可靠性如何?:费利西安·大卫(FélicienDavid)的《勒·德塞特》(LeDésert)及其大剧院

十九世纪,大量的法语音乐新闻和报道文学可引诱我们引用另一篇反映我们对主题或工作观点的评论。我们有时会声明或暗示评论代表当今大多数音乐家和音乐爱好者的态度和观点。

数十位评论家对费利西安·大卫(FélicienDavid)的特质生涯表示了极大的兴趣和生气。精选评论揭示了不仅适用于戴维(David)的作品,而且适用于整个19世纪音乐的模式。这些模式包括:1)受过音乐训练的评论家(例如,柏辽兹,里耶,古诺德和圣桑斯)进行评论的可靠性更高,尽管可能存在偏见;2)评论家有时在写评论之前就彼此商议,或互相呼应彼此的书面意见;3)无论是出于个人原因(例如,利益冲突),还是由于对任何美学和音乐方法的深深的不宽容,一些评论家都愿意对作曲家或作品进行近乎文艺的表演。与评论家自己的不同;4)一种意义积极的使命,由本身就是杰出创意艺术家的评论家撰写的作品(见第1点);5)评审的力量,可以帮助确定作品,作曲家或表演者的成败。

伯里奥兹(Berlioz)最近发表的一封信(首次在此进行翻译)揭示了这位杰出的作曲家批评家有意识地意识到自己的偏见和审美承诺,以及他如何乐意让他们以年龄较小,年龄较小的人来塑造自己对新作品的反应著名的作曲家。柏辽兹和其他人对戴维(DavidDésert)赫库兰纳姆(David)的两部作品的回应,为讨论提供了主要材料。这些回应包括欧内斯特·里耶(Ernest Reyer 的一次有见地且从未讨论过的评论大力士》)

更新日期:2021-04-08
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