The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers

By Arthur Elson | Go to book overview

XIX
CHERUBINI AND FRENCH OPERA

LUIGI CARLO ZENOBIO SALVATORE MARIA CHERUBINI, whose name became as famous as it was extensive, was born at Florence in 1760. He was at first trained by his father, a harpsichord player at a local theatre; and afterwards he took a thorough course with Sarti. His life divides itself naturally into three periods, -- first, a short career in the conventional Italian style; second, the leadership of opera composition at Paris; and last, a number of years as composer of sacred music and director of the Paris Conservatoire. His lofty style gave point to the saying that he was an Italian who composed German music in France.

In his first period, Cherubini mastered counterpoint, and became familiar with the style and spirit of the old Italian church music.

After a sojourn in London, the young composer made Paris his home, and soon came under the classic spell of Gluck's later operas. Cherubini himself composed an "Ifigenie in Aulide," which was given at Turin in 1788 with much success.

His first Parisian triumph, "Demophon," proved that he had definitely discarded the light Italian style, and adopted something more strongly dramatic. Like Rossini, he was inspired by the traditions of the Parisian stage; but he soon rose to greater heights than Rossini ever reached.

His next French success, "Lodoïska," was brought out in 1791. This work gained for its composer an international reputation. It also cast into the shade the light melodious trifles that were beginning to appear in Paris. In later years, the more superficial works of Boieldieu and Auber became typical of Parisian taste. It is on record that when the former had won plaudits with his "Caliph of Bagdad," Cherubini said to him, "Are you not ashamed to enjoy such an undeserved success?" Boieldieu then studied with Cherubini with good results. In all his career Cherubini was a rather caustic and captious individual, more feared than loved; but he used

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The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Part I - The Evolution of Music 1
  • Part I the Evolution of Music 2
  • I - Primitive and Savage Music 3
  • II - Greece and Rome 13
  • III - Early Christian Music 23
  • IV - The Minstrel Knights 31
  • V - The Schools of Counterpoint 42
  • VI - The Harmonic Style 58
  • Part II - The Great Composers 67
  • Part II the Great Composers 68
  • VII - Bach 69
  • VIII - Handel 77
  • IX - Gluck 85
  • X - Haydn 91
  • XI - Mozart 98
  • XII - Beethoven 108
  • XIII - Schubert 120
  • XIV - Weber and Romanticism 128
  • XV - Mendelssohn 135
  • XVI - Schumman 143
  • XVII - Chopin 151
  • XVIII - Italian Opera 158
  • XIX - Cherubini and French Opera 170
  • XX - Berlioz and Other Frenchmen 179
  • XXI - Liszt and His Circle 188
  • Part III - Musical Form 307
  • XXXI - Melody and Appreciation 309
  • XXXII - Figures and Phrases 317
  • XXXIII - The Song-Forms 324
  • XXXIV - The Rondos 331
  • XXXV - The Sonata-Allegro Form 336
  • XXXVI - Other Sonata Movements 341
  • XXXVII - The Orchestral Forms 345
  • XXXVIII Dances and Piano Styles - Dances and Piano Styles 351
  • XXXIX - The Vocal Forms 360
  • XL - The Contrapuntal Forms 366
  • Part IV - The Instruments 376
  • XLI - The Piano and Its Predecessors 377
  • XLII - The Organ 384
  • XLIII - The Voice 391
  • XLIV - The Violin 398
  • XLV - Other Bowed Instruments *
  • XLVI - Plucked-String Instruments 413
  • XLVII - Flute and Piccolo 420
  • XLVIII - Oboe and English Horn *
  • XLIX - The Bassoons 433
  • L the Clarinets 438
  • Li Horns, Trumpets, and Cornets 444
  • Lii Trombones and Tubas 450
  • Liii Instruments of Percussion 456
  • Part V - Special Topics 463
  • LIV - Some Famous Pianists 465
  • LV - Some Famous Singers 474
  • LVI - Violinists and Violin Music 483
  • LVII - Orchestration 491
  • LVIII - Conducting 496
  • Lix Acoustics 503
  • LX - How to Read Music 515
  • LXI - Modern Music 538
  • Appendix 569
  • Index 581
  • Index to Supplementary Chapter 606
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