Saturday, February 01, 2014

Arguing by Email


A conductor I played for today (“roman carnival overture”) stated that Berlioz was THE giant of 19th century opera, and that Verdi and Wagner are full of bits plagiarized from him…. The floor is yours. Yes? No? Caveats?


Berlioz was an original, an astounding man really.  He invented conducting.  He invented the leitmotiv.  He invented the gigantic orchestra.  He traveled to Russia and concertized widely--his own music, of course--thereby setting off the firestorm that was Russian romantic music.

He would have been a more influential voice in the world of opera had he been allowed to present operas at the Opera.  Long after his death Les Troyens opened the new Bastille opera house in Paris.  In his lifetime Meyerbeer was their guy.

Berlioz invented the Romantic orchestra.  Most of what Wagner claimed as his own descended from the ideas of Berlioz.

To place him above Verdi, however, is nonsense.  No one and nothing is above Verdi in the world of opera.

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