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Theater music in France, Chicago Lamothe, Peter. Last Modified March 21, Creator Lamothe, Peter Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music Abstract Incidental music served as a major outlet for composers during the latter half of the nineteenth century and the start of the twentieth century. This study examines the nature and significance of this oft-neglected genre. The topic is approached through five case studies meant to provide various cross-sections of noteworthy aspects of the genre over this fifty-year span. The approach to the case studies is twofold: through studies of the institutions which produced the most incidental music during this period, and through three productions which provide a variety of approaches with regard to their dates, theaters, compositional styles, and their respective places in their composers' careers.
Parents: This work has no parents. Tweet Share. For Duquesnel this would mean lower costs, as a new composer could not command the same rate as a major name like Gounod could. Duquesnel inquired about young composers with Vaucorbeil, the commissioner and sometime composer who oversaw the government-subsidized theaters.
The conflicting recollections may be compatible, as Vaucorbeil may have contacted Hartmann in his search for a young composer, and both men may have been present at the introduction of Massenet to Duquesnel. Unfortunately for Massenet, the next day after he had improvised the music for this insertion at the piano, Leconte de Lisle reappeared and relegated this also to the pile of purged sections. In addition to the music, a significant draw for the audiences was found in the principal actors, as I will discuss below.
Reception as seen in the theatrical and musical press was mixed. Many took Leconte de Lisle to task over the form of his adaptation. Francisque Sarcey, the venerated theater critic for Le Temps, noted that each of the previous French adaptors of Greek plays had made concessions to the taste of their audience. Not so with Leconte de Lisle, and the literalness of his translation — in both cultural and linguistic terms — created a tremendous friction in the reception of the play.
What did I say? A return? Authors have worked hard lately to soften a fair amount of violence in the old tragedies. The translators themselves, when they have transported these ancient works to the stage, have not judged it appropriate in some environments to give a literal version. On the contrary, Leconte de Lisle has gone further than the horror of his model. He then meets his doom at the hands of the Furies themselves. Que dis-je? Leconte de Lisle en a remis et beaucoup. The vase teeters precariously while the figures painted upon it come to life, only to eviscerate each other mercilessly.
Red, yellow and blue ink superimposed briskly over the black and white page make the illustration much more vivid and intensify the violence. In addition to the complaints about the restored violence and strangely Hellenized names, Sarcey and others seized upon the far-too-literal translations of Greek idioms into nearly incomprehensible phrases, where equivalent French idioms existed. In his view, Leconte de Lisle assumed that his audience had a greater knowledge of Greek history than even Aeschylus did.
For example, at the start of Part I, Scene ii, the night watchman gives no direct reference to his identity or function in society. Droz, : Perhaps Leconte de Lisle had been right to defend the audibility of his text so forcefully, as the sonority and poetry would have been lost if the words were muffled. Not even the complications and difficulties of the text proved to be an obstacle for the principal actors, whose excellent performance rendered the bitter violence even more striking.
Marie Laurent was singled out for her particularly stunning depiction of Klytaimnestra. She sits surrounded by darkness and flanked by Elektra and Kassandra. Never has there been a victim of destiny more congested. This was no longer hoarseness; it was nearly the extinction of a voice. From the beginning it was difficult to hear him; he had a calf on his tongue. In the end, by sheer force of will, he made himself heard. In his review published two days later, Sarcey used the same quip about the calf on the tongue.
I hope very much that my collaborator, M. Benedict, will have the occasion to hear it and to tell his feelings on it. Furthermore, the title of No 2 refers specifically to the actress who had played Klytaimnestra, Mme Laurent. It is thus safe to assume that this score 32 Cited by Demar Irvine in Massenet, 2nd ed. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, , It consists of 21 folios — 40 pages of music — and is bound in blue cloth. Conductors markings are found throughout.
The score is comprised of a prelude and eight numbered movements see Table 3. Several sections are crossed out or abridged in pencil by a hand which Table 3. The prelude is in a sectional ternary form, comprised of music drawn from later sections of the drama. In a stately G minor in common time, the texture is essentially homophonic and the phrase procedure is almost exclusively comprised of four-measure units.
Comprised of 58 measures in D minor and in 68 time, its shrieking fortissimos contrast strongly with the piano and mezzoforte dynamics of the processional. Also striking is the frequent occurrence of a five-measure phrase structure in which the held notes beginning each phrase provide abrupt contrast with the fleeting sixteenth notes of the remainder of the phrase. Its piano dynamic and serene lyricism provide the audience with a moment of relief from the violence inherent in the tragedy, and display the gift for melodic construction for which Massenet became so famous see Figure 3.
This example recalls the boulevard melodrama convention of using short musical snippets to accompany the entrances and exits of characters. Those examples which were quite brief and of a background rather than foreground nature might not have been memorable enough for critics to take notice of them, including numbers 3 and 7 discussed above , number 2 comprised of two sections of 16 measures and 18 measures and number 8 comprised of 20 measures. We will return to this combination of elements in the discussion of the second version of the score below.
Figure 3. The pianissimo dynamic and the transparency of texture serve to allow the text to remain audible despite the power of the melody to attract attention away from the speaker see Figure 3. Although the play did not stay in the theater for as long as Duquesnel wished, the impact of both the play and its accompanying music can be seen in other ways. And the play lingered in the public consciousness after its closure as well. Yet this version utilized only five of his twelve composed movements if we count each part of the substantial divertissement as its own movement.
As we have seen, he likely used the last of the three sections of the ballet movement in the suite performed by Pasdeloup. Ever an economical composer, Massenet remained unwilling to let the other six movements remain unperformed before the public. Before the name of the theater could be finalized, it was necessary for the Prefect of the Seine to issue a decision. We may be excused for finding the decisions of Vizentini, the Minister of Public Instruction and the Prefect of the Seine somewhat confusing, and amusing.
And it is clear from the press of the time that the critics found the affair amusing as well. But the theater needed more than one work to maintain its income. The expansion of a popular score into a major spectacle broadened its already significant appeal.
Many called it a drame antique, the term by which Leconte de Lisle and Massenet had designated it, which gave no indication as to the increased importance of the music for a play whose initial score was already substantial. And in doing so they created a niche for the incidental form of the drame lyrique which was based on both domestic and foreign scores well-known to the Parisian public, providing a strong sense of historical precedent for the scores appearing from onwards.
Elinor Olin has established at length how this generic label was utilized by nationalistic French critics who sought to supplant Wagnerian influence on their musical traditions. While Duquesnel implied that the score which Massenet wrote in contained all the movements which would be performed in the revival, manuscript evidence suggests otherwise. An examination of BnF Ms shows that significant portions of it do match the score closely, as demonstrated in Table 3.
Paul Prevost, Metz: Serpenoise, Hartmann, No 1. Choeur No 4. Choeur du retour B. Divertissement I. Danse grecque II. La Troyenne regrettant la patrie perdue III. Final C. The divertissement was likely sketched in , but cut before rehearsals — hence its absence from Ms ] No 2. Entr'acte No 7. On the other hand, the ostensibly unperformed portions of the score underwent significant change, as only fragments a few measures at most of numbers 7 and 8 from appear in the score, and number 3 from was altered by the addition of the chorus of Vieillards over the five-measure orchestral postlude to Part I.
And at times, someone perhaps Massenet himself? The new passages are often more musically sophisticated, providing some motive or topos which gives the listener information regarding the setting of the scene or its dramatic import. And within the version, the recurrence of certain musical passages provides greater cohesion across the score than in the version as reflected in Table 3.
This music had reflected the patient and somber watch for the King and his returning army kept by the men too old to fight. Here, even as the march is recalled, Table 3. Choeur du retour No 5. In this way the music employs a sort of leitmotivic construction, which — though less sophisticated and developed than the melodramas he wrote for Manon — serves to comment on the action in meaningful ways. Paul Prevost, Metz: Editions Serpenoise, Menneret, , Regardless, the introduction of such techniques represented an advance in the integration of musical melodrama with classical drama, as begun by Bizet and Gounod some months earlier.
The Revival While the revival had been a critical success, its short run had left less of an impact on the Parisian audiences than Massenet might have hoped. Significant as this placement on a special series might have been, it became swallowed up by another event at the end of that season — an event which triggered a more momentous revival of the play with the score. This time it was neither the verses nor the music which prompted the renewed interest, though each did benefit from the revival.
Clearly Porel placed a high value on the combination of a major score, a major poet and the retirement of a highly lauded actress to pull in audiences for this play which had not yet known an unmitigated success. And Porel was right in his judgment. In addition to praising the verses, he commended the overall impression of the work as still overwhelming. Conversely, Emile Morlot of La Revue d' art dramatique had nothing but praise for the actors. There are no more praises to give it. Massenet achevaient de justifier. And so you lose nothing. And again, the aesthetic divorce between the score and the play was called to attention by a theater critic as an asset of the production.
The success of the revival led to more frequent productions of the work see Table 3. Heureusement M. Et ainsi vous ne perdrez rien. Of immense proportions, the stage is one-hundred eighty feet across, and the amphitheater seats over twelve thousand spectators. By this date, the festival had achieved such an importance in French culture as to warrant the attendance of the President of the Republic. One of the pieces which makes it up had so captured the audience that the entire amphitheater, in one voice — despite the late hour, despite fatigue — cried encore, and the Colonne orchestra had to play it The acclamation was immense, and Massenet won one of the greatest successes in which he may take pride.
This was not a public of dilettantes which he had charmed; it was the masses, who judge only by sentiment, and the common way of appreciating works of art is that they are pleasing. Fasquelle, : , citation The decision to commission a new opera on the subject of Prometheus for Orange, announced early in the year, was confirmed by the substantial receipts from the festival, which amounted to 75, from two days. But art has nothing to gain in these attempts at pseudo-archeology. The conflict between these two opinions would only deepen as further revivals were mounted, thus providing fascinating insight into changing notions of musical representations of antiquity.
Meanwhile, Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray published three books on antique music.
Theater Music in France, 1864-1914 Peter Lamothe
The discourse on musical antiquity did not remain in the academy alone, but also began to affect the composition and performance of music. One of the most striking examples of the intersection between academic discourse on musical antiquity and performance was seen at the Palais Garnier in Performed on 26 January , the receipts totaled to a stunning , In , Charles Bannelier had been the sole critic to voice such a desire. Ollendorff, : While at pains not to deny the value of the score, Blum offered performing the text and music independently as a solution, the former on the stage and the latter in the concert hall.
Nevertheless, the music was not entirely devoid of antique touches. The initial orchestration, emphasizing strings and percussion, could well be read as a modern approximation of the instrumentation then believed to be used to accompany Greek tragedies. In the score, the orchestration of the Danse grecque presents a reflection of ancient music, as its melody featured two flutes playing over a string accompanyment which is frequently pizzicato, to similate the plucked cithara.
Massenet was not alone in his use of this technique; indeed, in his sketches for Les Troyens, Berlioz experimented with a similar pattern of reharmonized, chanted pitches. Yet the critiques presented by Blum, Dumas and others are symptomatic of the growing awareness on the part of the critics and by extension, the public who read their reviews of the qualities which comprised the music of Greek antiquity, and their consequent desire for ever more sophisticated musical evocations of that distant era.
It is strange that such a play which was never truly a popular success nor an undisputed critical success should remain a part of the repertoire for some seventy years. Much of that is due to the music, which was able to be performed separately much better than could the verse adaptation by Leconte de Lisle, as witnessed by the vibrant concert life of the score. With these scores by Bizet and Massenet, it became unthinkable that the play should be staged without the musical accompanyment which was such a key to their successes.
Prominent figures including Guillaume Apollinaire and Jean Cocteau claimed the influence of Ubu roi on their own work. Many — at least when his humorous music had acquired some fame — considered that it had saved the play; at the same time, they found it mostly noise. In any case, Terrasse fully entered the game, became one of the best friends of Jarry, and never ceased to collaborate with him, like Bonnard and Ranson. First, the music of Ubu roi serves as an example of a collaboration where the conception of the music corresponded quite strongly to the aesthetic influences on the play.
Second, the interaction between music and avant-garde drama did not have to be exotic; it could also be outwardly conventional or even lowbrow. This approach was fairly uncommon in the musical circles of the avant-garde. In writing such a score, Terrasse showed his willingness to be influenced by the literary side of the avant-garde rather than by the composers associated with the avant-garde, such as Satie, Debussy, Ravel, Vidal or Chausson. The tale of the creation of Ubu roi begins in in Rennes, the capital city of Bretagne. Paris: H. Floury, , was carefully timed as it appeared just months after the release of a new edition of Ubu roi by the Parisian publisher Fasquelle, the first since Classroom jests evolved into a series of comic sketches and short plays, the most significant of which was titled Les Polonais and produced in the Morin attic using homemade marionettes.
He continued to develop the narrative until it assumed mythical proportions: Ubu became an malevolent version of the Elizabethan Everyman, an incarnation of evil itself. Bathlot, II: Acrobaties Paris: Gallimard, : Although Ubu roi has been viewed by some commentators as a Symbolist work, it clearly stood at the periphery of Symbolism. Constable, : As the decor did not change, it became a question to evoke, instead of directly represent, the various places where the action took place. But I am writing to you beforehand to ask you to give some thought to a project which I would like to submit to you and which I hope may interest you.
Since Ubu roi, which you liked, is a complete story in itself, I could, if you liked, simplify it somewhat, and then we would have something which could not fail to be funny: you yourself found it funny when you read it without bias one way or the other. It would be interesting, I think, to produce this at no cost, incidentally in the following manner: 1 Mask for the principal character, Ubu; I could get this for you, if necessary.
And, in any case, I believe that you yourself have been studying the whole question of masks in the theater. A formally dressed individual would walk on stage, just as he does in puppet shows, and hang up a placard indicating where the next scene takes place. There are only three important characters who do much talking, Ubu, Ma Ubu and Bordure.
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Anyway, the other thing I am working on will soon be ready, and you will see how much better it is. But if the project I have just outlined does not seem completely absurd to you, then I would appreciate your letting me know, so that I will not be working unnecessarily on the second scheme. With best wishes for all your good work, which gave me the chance of enjoying yet another highly interesting evening yesterday.
The actors would use their bodies to communicate based on simple, universal gestures rather than the idiosyncratic language of semiotically-laden pantomime gestures, which he found impenetrable for the uninitiated by virtue of its idiomatic nature. It served to counter the creation and reception of drama as light entertainment devoid of intellectual stimulation, which Jarry frowned upon as bourgeois.
Moreover, the depersonalization of actors through masks, contrived voices and puppet-like motions seems to have been a response to the fame of such actors as Sarah Bernhardt and Mounet-Sully, whose celebrity created more of a spectacle than did the dramas in which they played.
By removing the focus from the actors and the visual artistry, emphasis might be returned to the drama and to its meanings, hidden or otherwise. As to the financial aspect, Jarry certainly could not have afforded a more experienced composer. I wanted the chords, for example to seem funny, like puns in language. Ubu roi proved to be the first of many collaborations, including several which were left incomplete. Acrobaties, Marguerite Eymery , a novelist and playwright who was married to Alfred Vallette. Her reply was crucial to the production as it convinced him not to cancel the play.
By doing so he shrewdly suggested to the audience that to condemn his play would be to show themselves less insightful into the meaning of Ubu roi than the assemblage of prominent avant-garde reviewers who had praised it at its literary release. He was probably quite sincere, nevertheless, in that he made several crucial points about the performance in this address.
First, Jarry claimed that part of his motivation for addressing the audience was that the sympathetic critics had seen more symbolism in the play than Jarry might have intended. Thus the reference to Swedenborgian philosophy, which asserted that simple forms are more perfect than more developed ones. See Alfred Jarry, Ubu, ed. For fifteen to twenty minutes, chaos reigned. This is the limit! Few theater critics who wrote about the performances found space to discuss the score.
But it also includes literary melodrama and literary marionette traditions. From the above we see that the puppetry influences on Ubu roi ranged from a popular, fairground style to an avant-garde, literary mode. Pierre Larousse, vol. The production of Ubu featured a host of famous visual artists, known collectively as the Nabis, who worked on the unorthodox stage design.
And Jarry had called upon Claude Terrasse to provide a musical score for his creation, which was rather substantial in length, even if mostly comprised of short snippets. First, the composition of the intended orchestra is given on page 12 of the play, immediately following the dedications see Figure 4.
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The other three are more fanciful. The grand basson large bassoon and triple basson triple bassoon invoke a tendency towards the musically grandiose reminiscent of both Wagner and Berlioz. Quantin, : The instruments listed in Ubu roi are drawn from the wind including brass and percussion families. The list of ancient instruments also serves as a nod to the burgeoning interest in performance practice in Paris during this time.
While the score does utilize these motives, it does not rely on them overmuch, nor does the texture of the scoring resemble anything like that of Wagner or his French adherents. Similarly, the key signatures employed are rather simple, ranging from four flats to an occasional five sharps, while more frequently employing two or fewer accidentals in the key signatures.
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The chromaticism which the score employs is most often of the passing tone variety, though the frequency and variety of chromatic usage increases as the score continues. Where modulations do occur they are often of a sectional nature rather than meticulously prepared. Among the more common goals of the chromatic modulations is the flatted submediant, rather old-fashioned by And most significant among its non-Wagnerian characteristics was the lack of any vocal music in this edition.
Unlike those scores, however, the interaction of music and speech in Ubu roi was far more subtle and flexible, as the instrumental interludes and the melodrama were much more frequent and of a wider range of durations. On the one hand, we find many parallels with other incidental scores of the avant-garde; on the other, there are parallels with less elevated genres such as melodramas and fairground music.
Of all the incidental scores produced during this era in France, it is fitting that the most direct comparisons can be made between the music for Ubu roi and the music for Symbolist marionette dramas. The scores by Vidal and Chausson, on the other hand, were more clearly incidental music but differed from Ubu roi in that they were often comprised of fifteen to twenty movements which were each longer than those for Ubu roi, and usually incorporated choruses and vocal soloists.
Its influence is more striking than that of the contemporary incidental works on Ubu roi. Similar music still accompanies the puppet shows in the public gardens in Paris today. Constable and Co. TH This relation by precedent holds true not only for the plots but also for the music of these plays, as the two scores bear some striking outward resemblances. Both scores are written for 5-act plays incorporating slapstick comedy and social satire. Both are comprised of numerous short movements during the drama; Robert Macaire possesses 64 movements besides its overture, while Ubu roi contains In each score, these range from 2 or 3 measures up to fifty-eight measures, though most are under twenty measures.
Repeat signs occur with some frequency, providing the conductor with a flexibility of movement length to suit the dramatic needs. And just as with Ubu roi, the musical materials of Robert Macaire are of a simplistic nature: the surviving orchestral parts show a simple melody-accompanyment texture as the rule, with basic partwriting that did not require virtuosi, and simple key signatures from three sharps to four flats.
Cues from the spoken text are sprinkled throughout the parts, indicating where tremolo passages should begin to underline dialogue in the simplest form of musical melodrama. Similarly, many of the shorter musical snippets in Ubu roi are carefully positioned within the spoken text and labeled to indicate their role as atmospheric sonority. While it is unlikely that Terrasse knew this particular score for Robert Macaire — which was written in and revived in and , nearly fifty years before Ubu roi — it stands nevertheless as an examplar of musical accompanyment to a boulevard melodrama which was among the most famous in nineteenth-century France, and the most relevant to Ubu roi.
Table 4. To be sure, his use of leitmotifs is shorter-breathed than a truly Wagnerian usage. But he does manage to utilize the motives in augmentation, diminution, complex rhythmic alterations, transformational processes, and in combinations which are consistently fresh and artful. In the spirit of eclectism, these usages of the motives are most often presented with a clarity and tunefulness which was a hallmark of the most self-conscious French styles of the era. An example of a combination of two motives which incorporates a transformation of a motive is found in the postlude to Act I, scene ii see Figure 4.
Figure 4. After a series of falling ninths, the pantomimic music which accompanies their death begins rather like a Bach invention. What started as a two-part imitation in the right-hand part is transformed in the last two systems of the score to sonically resemble the Dies Irae theme so frequently used to signify death in dramatic and programmatic music. The harmonic ambiguity of this passage lies in stark contrast to the harmonic simplicity of the Ouverture, even if the textures of the two are similar.
For those who might expect the score for Ubu roi to match the strident avant-garde nature of the text, the music can seem rather off-putting in its surface simplicity and in its lack of outwardly avantgarde moments. Its texture is almost exclusively melody-accompaniment, and it would seem very much at home in the world of operetta, to which Terrasse would later turn with a success not seen since Offenbach himself.
In this light, Terrasse supplied clues to the audience which might provide context in which they could form interpretations of this unusual work. This was especially useful in light of the polysemy of signifiers in the text of the play. The list is short — only two works — and they are both operas. Few works are likely to stand up to such comparisons; the additional problem for Le Martyre is that it was never an opera in the first place. Despite the telegrams and messages sent all over Paris to notify ticketholders of the cancellation, an angry crowd eventually forced their way into the dress rehearsal and joined the press in the audience, after arguing vehemently with the theater staff.
The difficulties surrounding Le Martyre did not end here. The most problematic aspect of the work was its massive text, whose 3, verses made it extend to four and a half hours in performance. It would seem that even those responsible for the work agreed with these criticisms, as it is reported that the second act was significantly reduced after the May 22 open dress rehearsal. La Revue musicale June : Thus, in few critics were confused as to the genre of the work, and especially the nature of the music. Claude Debussy pour le drame de M.
To the extent that it does refer to anything in the score, it would most likely allude to the imitation of Palestrinian counterpoint in the choral parts, especially in the fifth Mansion. In any event, the genre of the work would seem much more confusing to one whose vantage point was onstage while leading a portion of the choristers and extras, than to an audience member who might form a more comprehensive view of the work.
The first revision led to the concert suite of the work, containing orchestral excerpts from the first, third and fourth mansions as the acts of the play were called. The same year also saw Inghelbrecht conduct a concert version of the work, with nine soloists, choristers and orchestral players, and all five Table 5.
Notably absent from this version were all the spoken roles, suggesting that this version amounted to a straight performance of the score without any spoken dialogue. Perhaps the most obvious and relevant works to compare with Le Martyre are those which also drew their plots and themes from Christian history and legend. The list of plays with proto-Christian themes and incorporating incidental music includes at least five works.
These employ a different set of musical signifiers, including an instrumentation comprised exclusively of chorus and organ. In Table 5. Musical Signifiers: thematic use Nero, 64 A. Table 5. One might consider that Table 5. Canticum Geminorum Marc and Marcellien , vv. Chorus Virginum 9 Virgins , vv. Chorus Juvenum 9 Youths , vv. Erigoneium Melos, vv. Chorus Syriacus , vv.
Items in bold are not set to music, despite the marginal notes in the text of the play. La Cour des Lys No. La Chambre magique No. Le Concile des faux dieux No. Venge nos temples! Sombre et lent No. Le Paradis No. Similarly, he might have written only eight movements if he desired to focus his energy on perfecting them. Instead, he wrote eighteen movements, which suggests that Debussy did find something in the play about which to feel passionately, and that his work on this score — though taxing — also was rewarding in some way besides the 19 Page and verse numbers refer to the text of the play published in June Movements in bold are not called for in the marginal notes in the text of the play.
The mystical subject suited his very introverted aesthetic. He had, moreover, personal ideas which he described to me about The Passion which was mimed by Saint Sebastian in the mystery in question, ideas of profound originality. And Debussy himself simply wept. A Contextualization of The Role of Dance in Le Martyre Besides subject and setting, another comparison between Le Martyre and its contemporaneous French incidental scores lies in the creation of spectacle through the presence of dance.
If one were to count these as a single movement, Debussy composed fifteen movements. Yet similarly prominent uses of ballet and pantomime are found in seven other scores with settings in antiquity, both with and without proto-Christian subjects. The divertissement is comprised of three parts. The Furies open the drama by wandering about the ancient palace of Pelops until the sun rises, adding a menacing element to the grandeur of the location. The drama closes when the Furies appear first to summon Orestes to his doom, then to fall upon him and tear him to pieces. Throughout, these figures remain mute, using the gravity of their presence and their motion to communicate their power and import within the drama.
This movement serves to accompany both the gathering of the dancers and musicians to receive Iole and Hercules, and the religious procession which Hercules and Iole make towards the place of libations, where Hercules takes up the cup. In Act II, yet another festival to celebrate the victorious return of a king generates a ballet No. Throughout the drama, the entries and exits of Parysatis and Aspasie are underlined with music, endowing these moments with pantomimic qualities.
I do not agree. Musical Signifiers in Le Martyre Finally, the collection of incidental scores on similar subjects and with similar settings provides an opportunity to investigate the use of musical signifiers for these settings and subjects. Published in Polish in , the novel quickly gained favor throughout Europe, as it was translated into 26 languages within five years of its initial publication. Like the novel, the production also encountered a striking success, as it ran for one hundred-fifteen performances in the — season and was revived the following autumn for another fifty-two performances.
Both are set in the Roman Empire; both involve conflicts between the proto-Christian church and antique pagan religions; both involve erotic elements; and both were associated with the Symbolists. Ouverture Second Tableau No. Le Combat des Gladiateurs No. Danses gaditaines Third Tableau No. Faunes et Bacchantes Sixth Tableau No. Fanfares funebres Tenth Tableau No. The opening measures of each work feature a confluence of several aspects designed to evoke local color.
The first is tonal ambiguity. While the remainder of measure one suggests E major as a clear tonality, measure two returns strongly to C-sharp minor. Similarly, in Figure 5. This prominent use of the Neapolitan is the second feature which unites the two scores. The Neapolitan harmony of measure four in Quo vadis?
Third, the presence of a prominent falling perfect fifth in the opening melody of Quo vadis? There, the leap of a diminished fifth in measure seven is answered by the minor sixth in measure nine. By encircling the perfect fifth from a semitone above and below, both of these rising intervals recall the pair of rising perfect fifths in the opening four measures, and serve to prepare the wider rising intervals of measures The use of perfect fifths persists in the prelude of Le Martyre, as seen in Figure 5.
Alternately, it might be labeled as a III in C-sharp minor. An underlying sense of organic unity is provided by the process of transformation of the perfect fifth and by the flexible phrase lengths. As a result of the freer invention of the themes in Quo vadis? The last element in common between the two scores is a sliding chromaticism, which recurs in a number of disparate contexts. A rising chromatic scalar passage is first encountered in Quo vadis?
A chromatic scalar passage recurs first in the third movement, during a battle of gladiators, where the passage evokes the octatonic scale as a means to its exoticism Figure 5. A similar usage occurs in measures of that same movement. Figure 5. The last occurrence of such chromatic material within a new theme in Quo vadis?
There, it occurs as the main thematic material of the contrasting middle section in a ternary form, as in Figure 5. Leaps are strategically placed in the theme Figure 5. Similar uses of chromatic fragments recur throughout the score of Le Martyre as well.
The first is in measure 35 of the prelude, where a descending chromatic fragment A-flat-F is repeated and extended to F-flat in the following measure See Figure 5. A similar descending chromatic passage is found in the inner voice of the texture near the opening of that scene See Figure 5. Figures 5. As the dynamic drops to piano, one sees a brief chromatic descent in the inner voice D-flat—C—Cflat combined with the rising fifth element E-flat—B-flat. The use of these musical signifiers is not limited to these two scores, but is found also in the other works listed in Tables 5.
Each of these three semiotically charged elements are common features in music from the late nineteenth-century onwards. Yet based on comparative analysis, this constellation of topoi seems unique to these scores for antique and protoChristian themed dramas. That this constellation of topoi served to evoke the local color of ancient settings is borne out all the more strongly since these topoi were not found only in incidental music.
I would suggest that further comparison of incidental and operatic scores on similar subjects and with similar settings might be invaluable in understanding better the semiotic content of music for the French stage in the nineteenth century. Musical Signifiers: thematic th Alexandria, 4 century use of P5 interval, thematic A. Of course, these commonalities serve to validate the comparisons between these scores, and to suggest the richness of French incidental music of this era.
To start with, it strikes one with its clarity, its serenity and its force. One finds there the whole-tone scale of his preceding works. One also finds in it sometimes a breadth of sentiment, other times a simplicity of means worthy of note and of praise. Claude Debussy. The four preludes which Debussy composed, the choruses, the solos, count among his most accomplished pages. A very select and numerous audience. Very beautiful interpretation. Public de choix. Within this relative vacuum of stages for operatic production, the many stages of Paris which produced spoken dramas served as surrogates for composers to hone their craft.
Yet the genre was not merely used as an entrance to the career. Many composers continued to produce incidental music throughout their careers. That these composers were all well-established when they wrote these scores suggests that the blurring of generic boundaries was not undertaken to prove their ability to write in an operatic style, as a young composer might attempt. The importance of further studies of this genre is threefold. First, study of incidental music illustrates the wide variety of institutions, composers and directors who were involved with music for staged entertainment in a manner which the study of opera alone does not.
Third, comparative studies of opera and incidental music with similar settings and plots offers the possibility of identifying a wider degree of musical signifiers than would the study of opera alone. Further study of incidental music in France at the turn of the twentieth century offers many possibilities for completing our understanding of musical and theatrical productions during this vibrant and dynamic era.
Datable letters 1. Je crois que cela fera bon effet ainsi. Routledge, : Autrement ce serait bon le mardi Serait-il encore temps? Evidence dates this letter to 19 September Cher Monsieur Perrin, voici le manuscrit de la musique pour la Quenouille de Barberine. Est-ce possible? This date, coupled with the reference to Lureau see footnote 12 below date this letter to January While I have not been able to date the meeting of judges for the competition, the meeting for the prior competition can be dated to 10 April , leading me to date this letter to April Delibes was bound for Brussels to assist at the rehearsals for the local premiere of Jean de Nivelle there on 28 November He traveled to Bayreuth in with Salvayre, Delibes, and the cellist Fischer to attend the premiere of Parsifal on 26 May.
Undatable letters The juried performances of cantatas that year took place on 23 June Voulez vous me permettre de vo[u]s renouveler ma demande. While letter 6. Si cependant il y avait urgence, veuillez me le faire dire par le porteur, et je me rendrais libre pendant une heure. Vous deviez prendre la peine de venir me voir? Je vous ai attendu vers 6h, mercredi et jeudi. Voulez vous bien me le faire dire par un mot. Letter 3. A Monsieur E. Avez vous supplicie Dimanche quand? Le Coiffeur hommes — fr. Jamaux M. Jamaux is most likely a surname. The likely explanation is that the letter was written in early and included completed scores with projected performance dates, of which Rosalinde was not yet one.
Thermidor, Griselidis etc. Adaptations et reconstitutions. These Parisian performances alone total to by Alfred Jarry. Reprinted in Jarry:Tout Ubu. Paris: Gallimard, The Swedenborgian Doctor Mises has quite rightly compared rudimentary works with the most perfect achievements, and embryonic forms with the most evolved creatures, pointing out that the former categories lack any element of accident, protuberance or special characteristics, leaving them a practically spherical form like the ovule or Mister Ubu; and, equally, that the latter possess so many personal attributes that they too take on a spherical form, by virtue of the axiom that the smoothest body is the one presenting the greatest number of different facets.
A few actors have agreed to lose their own personalities during two consecutive evenings by performing with masks over their faces so that they can mirror the mind and soul of the man-sized marionettes that you are about to see. As the play has been put on in some haste and in a spirit of friendly improvisation, Ubu has not had time to obtain his own real mask, which would have been very awkward to wear in any case, and his confederates, too, will be decked out in only approximate disguise. It was very important that, if the actors were to be as much like marionettes as possible, we should have fairground music scored for brass and gongs and megaphones — which we simply did not have time to get together.
We are going to make do with three complete acts, followed by two acts incorporating some cuts. I have mde all the cuts the actors wanted even sacrificing several passages essential to the understanding of the play , and for their benefit I have kept in scenes which I would have been only too happy to eliminate. For, however much we may have wanted to be marionettes, we have not quite hung each character from a string, which may not necessarilty have been an absurd idea but would certainly have been rather awkward for us, and in any case we were not quite sure exactly how many people were going to be available for our crowd scenes, whereas with real marionettes a handful of pulleys and strings serves to control a whole army.
So in order to fill our stage you will see leading characters such as Ubu and the Czar talking to each other while prancing around on their cardboard horses which, incidentally, we have been up all night painting. At least the first three acts and the closing scenes will be played in full, just as they were written. And we also have the ideal setting, for just as a play can be set in Eternity by, say, letting people fire revolvers in the year one thousand or thereabouts, so you will see doors opening onto snow-covered plains under blue skies, mantelpieces with clocks on them swinging open to turn into doorways, and palm trees flourishing at the foot of beds so that little elephants perching on bookshelves can graze on them.
And the action, which is about to start, takes place in Poland, that is to say Nowhere. Similarly, works after have been included for composers whose careers continued after that year. A wide variety of sources were consulted in the compilation of this catalog.
The daily press, especially Le Figaro and Le Temps, was consulted for factchecking and resolution of discrepancies in other sources. The following abbreviations have been used: adapt. Jacob Christian Donner, adapt. BnF-Mus D. II, vla. BnF-Mus Vma. Giraud et J. Menneret cites review by J. Revived at Orange, 30 July BnF-Mus Ms. II 2 ex. Reprised 14 July , played 13 times during that month. Drame BnF-Mus Vma. C-F 6R 24 Paris: Heugel, n. I, hn. II, cnt. I, vln. On conservera quelques morceaux symphoniques de Lulli. Thematic catalogue of pieces, 3 pp. Score published by E.
Seven numbered movements. TH 8 manuscript parts, c. I, vla. BnF-Mus Vma Ms. Premiere at the Cirque Olympique, 29 November , with music by Fessy. Successful reprise on 27 January for th performance, the first of 30 performances that season Genty, Four movements arranged as a suite for orchestra by Bizet, four arranged by Ernest Guiraud as Suite no. BnF-Mus Vmb 62 undated Choudens printed orchestral score, pp. F ; BnF-Mus Ms. Four of the twelve roles featured singers. Bizet, Paris: E. Menneret cites very favorable review by H. Tableau 2 given at Palais Garnier 24 December BnF-Mus K. Reached 35 performances in BnF-Mus G.
Sporck, s. C-F 6P2 4 piano-vocal score, Paris: Heugel, n. Play also called La Quenouille de Barberine. C-F 6P1 score for solo voice and mandoline, Paris: Heugel, n. Dances performed by 40 musicians 2 fl. Songs by Adolphe Adam and incidental music by Adolphe de Groot. Menneret cites review by H. B-flat, fl. Play premiered by Sarah Bernhardt. Reached performances on 18 June ; subsequently reached performances.
Menneret cites reviews by P. Drame musical on same text by Xavier Leroux, Mouton, Paris: J. Heugel, ; BnF-Mus Fol. Drame en 5 actes, en vers BnF-Mus Ms. Revived on 27 March , with adaptation of play by Louis Piachaud performed 23 times. C-F 6P2 4 piano-vocal album of vocal music, Paris: Heugel, n. Leroux, Paris: G. Hartmann, n. Performed 13 times. Play revived on 21 March , played 14 times with renewed success. Menneret cites review by P. This score also revived 18 December 4 performances , 1 May I, fl. II, bsn.
I, II, vla. Five movements: 1. Performed 4 times in I-II, ob. Extensive use of melodrama. Hartmann, ; BnFMus K. Eight performances. Menneret cites P. Fromont, s. Score performed at Blankenberghe, Belgium on 3 August II 3 ex. Chanson 3. Charpentier restored by C. Performed six times that season. For english horn, 2 clarinets, 2 darboukas, grand tambour and petit tambour. Durand, ; BnF-Mus D.
Vm15 orchestral suite transcribed for chamber orch. Charpentier et E. BnF-Mus Fol. Nancy Drame For unison chorus and piano two- or four-hands. Instrumentation: fl. BnF-Mus L. Invocation II. Air de ballet III. Choral et marche; Paris: A. Grus, ; BnF-Mus K. Menneret cites H. Many subsequent performances used no music or newly composed music. BnF-Mus A.
For piano, female mezzo narrator, choir in the wings. Jack W. Revised in as a drame lyrique opera for Monte Carlo. Menneret cites a strident review by H. Durand, ; BnF-Mus Ms. Legend of the Marchand expedition to Egypt. Review by Paul Dukas in La Revue hebdomadaire on 31 October suggests that the work is more incidental music than opera.
Played times by closure on 15 June. Reprised on 20 September , played 52 times that fall, reaching performances on October Menneret cites O. BnF-Mus W2, autograph manuscript piano reduction of overture, 2 pp. Flammarion, ; BnF-Mus K. Instrumental music and songs. The orchestra was conducted by Chevillard. Reprised on 22 November for 24 performances.
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Vm7 Paris: Impr. Gael, R. Stoullig, Les Annales … , notes that 14 musicians played from the wings of the theater. Score comprised of preludes, short fragments of melodrama. Ozarien, Mme Fernande G. Vieu et J. Roussel Conte lyrique en 1 acte, en vers Conducted by Roussel. Demets, 15 pp. Demets, 30 pp. BnF-Mus 4o Vm5. I-III, trb. Extracts of Berlioz score played with complete translation by Gramont. July Satz is of Russian origin. Performed 11 times in Premiered at Palais Garnier on 17 June , revived 8 February , performed 44 times there by Vm5 35 piano-vocal score , BnFMus Fol.
Vm5 53 piano-vocal score with English tr. Vm7 Paris: M. Eschig, , 24 pp. With Ida Rubinstein. Music conducted by Inghelbrecht; da Parma was a student of Puccini. Two orchestral suites arranged by H. Vm15 orchestral score ; BnF-Mus Fol. Score unpublished.