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Comédie Héroïque (1792)

Elizabeth Bartlet

216 pp.

13 illustrations

ISBN: 978-0918728951

Hardback clearance price $30.00

Out-of-Print. This book is no longer available from Pendragon Press.


Étienne-Nicolas Méhul's greatest contributions to music were his operas, in which dramatic truth was the paramount goal. The tremendous variety among his operas and his frequently daring and innovative approaches result from consistently putting the requirements of the drama first. Stratonice shows the consolidation and development of new and more extended forms a greater role for the orchestra and a broader range of effects achieved through a larger harmonic vocabulary remote modulations and deliberately unmelodic writing for the voice when justified by the exigencies of the text.

Méhul's works for the Opéra-Comique of the 1790s were the mainstay of the Paris repertoire and were often performed elsewhere. As a group they show better than the oeuvre of any other single composer the stylistic break with the works of the previous generation, the developments contributing to their far greater dramatic impact, and the musical innovations which proved to be influential precedents for Romantic music.


Elizabeth Bartlet:

(1948�2005) was a leading scholar of French music from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her exemplary research was centered in Paris, where she was a commanding and beloved presence in the libraries and archives. Her scholarly edition of Rossini's Guillaume Tell represented the first satisfactory solution of one of the thorniest source problems of its chronological era, and is now in general use internationally. Bartlet was professor of music at Duke University and, at her death, a director of the American Musicological Society.


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