Paris, a Concise Musical History

by Guy Hartopp

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Paris, the City of Light, is one of the most romantic cities in the world. The millions of visitors which flock to the French capital every year follow in the footsteps of countless artists, writers and composers who for centuries have been drawn to this magnificent city. Some composers, Chopin and Rossini among them, found success and contentment, and remained in Paris for the rest of their lives. But for others, Paris brought nothing but disappointment and disillusionment. Mozart, who came to Paris as a 22-year-old seeking a permanent position, was so bitter about the cavalier manner in which he was treated that he professed an aversion to all things French until the end of his days. Wagner was so upset by his treatment here that he once described Paris as "a pit into which the spirit of the nation has subsided." And yet he was drawn back to the city time and again.

This book charts the musical history of Paris. It discusses the composer and musicians, both French and foreign, who were drawn here and the impact they made on the world of music, on this great city, and vice versa. It includes a wealth of biographical details, including where the artists lived and, where relevant, where they died and are buried. It also draws from and points to suitable scholarly literature, making it an accessible introduction to students of the musical history of Paris.

The book also describes another feature which, if it did not enrich, most certainly enlivened Parisian musical life: The full-scale musical riot. The most notorious of these took place at the Theatre des Champs Elysées in 1913 at the premiere of Stravinsky’s ballet Le sacre du printemps. Less physical, but no less vociferous, was the reception accorded to Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Opéra in 1860. Other composers who incurred the displeasure of Parisian audiences included Satie, Varese and Xenakis. These riots were not half-hearted affairs; police involvement was required and hospital casualty departments were kept busy.

There are also chapters which discuss the musical history of the many theatres of Paris and the churches which played such an important part in the city’s musical past. The text is clear and accessible in order to appeal to both students and the general reader.

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION AND ACKOWLEDGEMENTS

CHAPTER 1 THE OPERA COMPANIES OF PARIS

CHAPTER 2 THE MUSICAL LIFE OF PARIS BEFORE 1750
Léonin, Pérotin, Franco de Cologne, Lully, Campra, M A Charpentier, Rameau, Duphly, Senaillée

CHAPTER 3 1750-1815: A TURBULENT PERIOD
Gossec, Viotti, Joseph Boulogne, Piccinni, Sacchini, Grétry, Méhul, Le Sueur, Cherubini, Spontini, Boieldieu

CHAPTER 4 1815-1830: THE BOURBON RESTORATION
Paër, Rossini, Auber, Hérold, Reicha, Onslow, Louise Farrenc

CHAPTER 5 1830-1848: THE GOLDEN AGE OF FRENCH GRAND OPERA
Meyerbeer, Halévy, Donizetti, Adam, Bellini

CHAPTER 6 1830-1848: INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
Berlioz, Chopin, Alkan, Liszt, Paganini, Félicien David

CHAPTER 7 1850-1899 THE ZENITH AND DECLINE OF GRAND OPERA
Wagner, Gounod, Bizet, Ambroise Thomas, Massenet, Bruneau, Offenbach, Delibes

CHAPTER 8 1871-1899: THE RESURGENCE OF INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
Saint-Saëns, Duparc, Fauré, Franck, d’Indy, Chausson, Chabrier, Lalo, Augusta Holmes, Satie

CHAPTER 9 1900-1914: FROM FIN DE SIECLE TO THE GREAT WAR
LA BELLE EPOCH
G Charpentier, Debussy, Dukas, Messager, Ravel, Hahn, Ballets Russes

CHAPTER 10 1914—1930: EUROPE IN TURMOIL
Auric, Milhaud, Honegger, Durey, Poulenc, Tailleferre, Ibert, Koechlin, Roussel

CHAPTER 11 1930-1945: THE LAST YEARS OF THE THIRD REPUBLIC
Françaix, Messiaen, Varese, Canteloube, Sauguet, Martinu, Weill, Enescu

CHAPTER 12 MUSIC IN POST-WAR PARIS
Villa Lobos, Xenakis, Jolivet, Dutilleux, Boulez

CHAPTER 13 RUSSIAN VISITORS TO PARIS
Anton and Nicolai Rubinstein, Tchaikowsky, Rimsky Korsakov, Glazunov, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Tcherepnin

CHAPTER 14 AMERICAN VISITORS TO PARIS
Copland, Virgil Thomson, Piston, Sessions, Antheil, Ezra Pound, Gershwin

CHAPTER 15 OTHER NON-FRENCH VISITORS TO PARIS
Mozart, Arriaga, Granados, Albéniz, De Falla, Turina, Bartók, Kálmán, Mahler, Sibelius, Richard Strauss, Delius, Vaughan Williams

CHAPTER 16 THE GREAT ORGANISTS OF PARIS
Couperin family, Balbastre, Lefébure Wély, Guilmant, Widor, Gigout, Boellmann, Dupré, Toumemire, Vierne, Duruflé, Langlais, Alain family

CHAP 17 SOME DISTINGUISHED MUSICIANS AND PERFORMERS
Pasdeloup, Colonne, Lamoureux, Maria Malibran, Pauline Viardot, Adolphe Nourrit, Maria Callas, Boulanger sisters, Rudolf Nureyev

CHAPTER 18 THE CONCERT HALLS AND OPERA HOUSES OF PARIS

CHAPTER 19 THE CHURCHES OF PARIS AND THEIR MUSICAL
ASSOCIATIONS

CHAPTER 20 COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS OF MUSIC

CHAPTER 21 SOME NOTABLE ARTISTIC SALONS
de Bagge, Rothchilds, Marquise de Vayer, Countess Marie d’Agoult, La Comtesse Greffuhle, Princess Cristina Belgiojoso, Ernest Chausson, Pauline Viardot, Ida Rubinstein, Vicomtesse Marie-Laure de Noailles, Marguerite de Marceaux, Princess de Polignac

CHAPTER 22 THE CEMETERIES OF PARIS

Appendix A Composers’ principal residences

Appendix B Theatres used by the opera companies

Appendix C Getting about in Paris

PRINCIPAL SOURCES AND SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX OF NAMES

Guy Hartopp was born into a musical family (father principal horn) and has a background in Choral Music. He has a keen interest on musical history, particularly of Vienna, Paris and Prague. In parallel to his career as a Dental Surgeon, he has researched extensively musical history and delivered lectures to music societies regularly since 1979. His previous book "Vienna: A Complete Musical Guide" was published in 2006. Paris has been the focus of his music research since 2007.

Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Paris, a Concise Musical History
ISBN
978-1-62273-255-5
Edition
1st
Number of pages
384
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
Illustrations
110 BW
Publication date
March 2017
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