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Book Reviews 309 sported the proper “communication, imagi- say has the ﬂavor of triumphant arrival—of nation, and variety” (p. 253) could fulﬁll a job well done. But it also has the ﬂavor of golden-age expectations. a challenge: now that the tools and materi- After the Golden Age is an impassioned re- als are at hand, it is time for a fresh ap- minder that “the player too was a creative proach to the composer, time to rethink artist” (p. 101) in an environment that entrenched narratives of his life, consider offered “the entire spectrum of playing new facts, and explode what Bloom calls styles, from our standard sober renditions “old inanities” surrounding Berlioz’s of pieces to versions which we would with- “ﬂawed technique” (p. 6). Bloom’s call for out hesitation classify as transcriptions” reinvigoration is carried through the ﬁrst (p. 259). Some aspects of nineteenth- essay by Jacques Barzun, which sets out in century performance practice, such as pre- more speciﬁc terms the challenge that luding or a more ﬂexible attitude toward faces the new Berlioz scholarship. the ﬁxity of the score, are easily recover- In order to understand and discuss “The able; others will remain lost. Whether crit- Music in the Music of Berlioz” (to borrow ics, and more importantly audiences, will the title of his essay), Barzun suggests that warm to the changes done to the delivery we must not only alter the terms of criti- of canonic works is harder to gauge. cism but consider the ways in which stan- Regardless, Hamilton’s book will hopefully dard critical vocabulary has itself marginal- serve as the starting point for a renewed ized Berlioz. He calls for a new and consideration of romantic performance enriched language capable both of describ- practice as another viable option for the ing Berlioz’s sounds and forms and articu- modern pianist and listener. lating what makes them sensible and beau- Jonathan Kregor tiful. Reconsidering the old problem of University of Cincinnati “program music” is an important ﬁrst step, according to Barzun, who calls for critics to relinquish the idea of Berlioz as a grossly Berlioz: Scenes from the Life and literal composer—a purveyor of musico- Work. Edited by Peter Bloom. (East- visual effects—and to examine in more so- man Studies in Music.) Rochester, NY: phisticated terms what renders his work University of Rochester Press, 2008. meaningful. To do this, we require a much- [xiii, 248 p. ISBN-13: 9781580462099. expanded vocabulary for the description of $75.] Illustrations, music examples, timbre and texture as well as a broader cul- bibliographic references, index. tural perspective on orchestration in the ﬁrst half of the nineteenth century. In addi- In the most recent set of Berlioz-focused tion, Barzun points out the need for a essays edited by Peter Bloom, we encounter more sophisticated approach to Berlioz’s keen, provocative, and methodologically melodic language—a set of critical tools ca- innovative work. The essays in this collec- pable of interpreting his phraseology and tion draw their impetus, in part, from the melodic affect. The renovations in termi- explosion of activity surrounding Berlioz’s nology that Barzun recommends imply fun- bicentennial anniversary in 2003, an event damental shifts in methodology and cul- marked by a series of international confer- tural perspective. They require analysts to ences, performances, exhibitions, and place Berlioz’s music back in its proper recordings, as well as by the completion of
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