Musical Debate and Political Culture in France, 1700-1830
Title Details

240 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

5 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Music in Society and Culture

Imprint: Boydell Press

Musical Debate and Political Culture in France, 1700-1830

by R. J. Arnold

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
The first full-length treatment of the operatic querelles in eighteenth-century France, placing individual querelles in historical context and tracing common themes of authority, national prestige and the power of music over popular sentiment.
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, French cultural life seethed with debates about the proper nature and form of musical expression, particularly in opera. Expressed in a flood of pamphlets, articles, letters and poems as well as in the actual disruption of performances, these so-called querelles were seen at the time as a distinctively French phenomenon and have been mined by scholars since for what they can tell us about French politics and culture in the revolutionary period.

This is the first full-length treatment of the entire history of this phenomenon, from its beginnings in the last years of Louis XIV to the 1820s when the new musical challenges of Berlioz and Wagner put an end to this particular form of debate. Arnold analyses the individual querelles, showing how they reflected and played their part in wider political and cultural events. At the same time, hetraces themes common in varying degrees to them all - questions of authority, the issue of national prestige, and the relation of language to music. Where some scholars have characterised these disputes as simply politics by proxy, Arnold paints a more nuanced picture, showing that music itself was taken seriously beyond artistic circles because it was seen as having great, potentially limitless, power over popular sentiment and thus implicitly power to reform society and change the world.

R.J. Arnold is an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London
Introduction
Parallels, Comparisons and Ripostes: The Raguenet-Lecerf Controversy, 1702-32
Spectators, Satirists and Sectarians: The Ramiste-Lulliste Querelle, 1733-51
'A Vast Negotiation': The Querelle des Bouffons, 1752-54
The Spirit of Contradiction: The Gluckiste-Piccinniste Querelle, 1774-88
A Revolutionary Interlude, 1789-1800
The End of the Party: New Avenues for Musical Dispute, 1800-30
Conclusion
Bibliography
"Arnold demonstrates an extraordinary command of interdisciplinary bibliography - both primary sources and secondary literature - that is helpful to those of us seeking to situate music in the context of political or cultural history." Beverly Wilcox, SOCIETY FOR EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY MUSIC NEWSLETTER
"Contains more than enough to provoke a new generation of readers into exploring the social dissonances of France." FONTES ARTIS MUSICAE
"[An] admirable and probing study." THE MUSICAL TIMES

Hardcover

9781783272013

June 2017

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9781787443075

June 2017

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Title Details

240 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

5 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Music in Society and Culture

Imprint: Boydell Press