Dissonance in the Republic of Letters
The Querelle des Gluckistes et des Piccinnistes

Mark Darlow

Legenda (General Series)

Legenda

23 February 2013  •  240pp

ISBN: 978-1-907975-54-7 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

EnlightenmentFrenchMusic


Eighteenth-century French cultural life was often characterised by quarrels, and the arrival of Viennese composer Christoph Willibald Gluck in Paris in 1774 was no exception, sparking a five-year pamphlet and press controversy which featured a rival Neapolitan composer, Niccolò Piccinni. However, as Darlow shows, the Gluck-Piccinni controversy was about far more than which composer was better suited to lead French operatic reform. A consideration of cultural politics in 1770s Paris shows that a range of issues were at stake: court versus urban taste as the proper judge of music, whether amateurs or specialists should have the right to speak of opera, whether the epic or the tragic mode is more suited for drama reform, and even: why should the public argue about opera at all?

Mark Darlow is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Cambridge.

Reviews:

  • ‘Darlow quotes generously from a wide selection of the many texts that contributed to the quarrel, from the writings of well-known authors to anonymous pamphlets. His profound and thoughtful study should be of interest not only to music specialists, but to anyone with an interest in eighteenth-century aesthetics and ideas.’ — Derek Connon, Modern Language Review 109.2, April 2014, 513-14 (full text online)
  • ‘Mark Darlow’s excellent book is less concerned with questions about the extent to which Piccinni and other Italians imitated Gluck than with the wider context of the Querelle. This includes the politics of the Opéra itself, as well as the literary, social and political dimensions of the affair. He has gone beyond the published collections of polemic to sources hitherto ignored.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 50.4, October 2014, 504
  • ‘This is a timely and important book... Darlow has digested an impressive range of source material: archival records, periodicals, pamphlets, letters, memoires, livrets, scores - and those are merely the eighteenth-century sources. His discussions are also constantly in- formed by copious reference to, and generous discussion of, the work of his scholarly peers.’ — Nathan John Martin, Music & Letters 282-85

Bibliography entry:

Darlow, Mark, Dissonance in the Republic of Letters: The Querelle des Gluckistes et des Piccinnistes (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013)

First footnote reference: 35 Mark Darlow, Dissonance in the Republic of Letters: The Querelle des Gluckistes et des Piccinnistes (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Darlow, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Darlow, Mark. 2013. Dissonance in the Republic of Letters: The Querelle des Gluckistes et des Piccinnistes (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Darlow 2013: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Darlow 2013: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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