Journal of Romance Studies

Renegotiating the composer’s authority in A.E.M. Grétry’s Mémoires

Journal of Romance Studies (2018), 18, (1), 45–62.

Abstract

The authority of the composer in matters pertaining to music is an interesting problem. We generally afford the composer the highest authority over his art, but this is a relatively recent phenomenon bound up in Romantic ideas of genius associated with the middle or later nineteenth century. It is my contention that important and overlooked developments were made significantly earlier in the oft-neglected Mémoires of A.E.M. Grétry (1741–1813), an important composer during the French Revolution (1789–1800). I argue that the publication of these memoires marked a remarkable watershed in the development of the composer’s agency: a bold attempt to enlarge the composer’s authority over areas of his art (like aesthetics) traditionally considered ‘off limits’, thereby redefining the composer’s profession at the dawn of a new era.

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Académie française (1798) ‘Mémoires’, in Dictionnaire de l’Académie française, 5th ed. (2 vols) (Paris: J.J. Smith et Cie.). Mémoires Dictionnaire de l’Académie française Google Scholar

Arnold, Robert James (2016) Grétry’s Operas and the French Public: From the Old Regime to the Restoration (Farnham: Ashgate). Grétry’s Operas and the French Public: From the Old Regime to the Restoration Google Scholar

Bouilly, Jean-Nicholas (1836–37) Mes récapitulations (3 vols.) (Paris: Louis Janet). Mes récapitulations Google Scholar

Caradonna, Jeremy L. (2012) The Enlightenment in Practice: Academic Prize Contests and Intellectual Culture in France, 1670–1794 (London and Ithaca: Cornell University Press). The Enlightenment in Practice: Academic Prize Contests and Intellectual Culture in France, 1670–1794 Google Scholar

Charlton, David (1986) Grétry and the Growth of Opéra-Comique (New York: Cambridge University Press). Grétry and the Growth of Opéra-Comique Google Scholar

Clercx, Suzanne (1944) Grétry: 1741–1813 (Brussels: La Renaissance du livre). Grétry: 1741–1813 Google Scholar

Condillac, Etienne Bonnot de (1754) Traité des sensations (2 vols.) (London and Paris: Debure). Traité des sensations Google Scholar

Couvreur, Manuel (1992) ‘Grétry: lecteur des philosophes’, Bulletin de la Société liégeoise de Musicologie 77: 1–11. Grétry: lecteur des philosophes Bulletin de la Société liégeoise de Musicologie 77 1 11 Google Scholar

Darlow, Mark (2012) Staging the French Revolution: Cultural Politics and the Paris Opéra, 1789–1794 (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Staging the French Revolution: Cultural Politics and the Paris Opéra, 1789–1794 Google Scholar

Diderot, Denis (1967) Paradoxe sur le comédien (Paris: Garnier Flammarion). Paradoxe sur le comédien Google Scholar

Ellis, Katherine (1995) Music Criticism in Nineteenth-Century France: La Revue et Gazette Musicale de Paris, 1834–80 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Music Criticism in Nineteenth-Century France: La Revue et Gazette Musicale de Paris, 1834–80 Google Scholar

Favières, Etienne Guillaume François de, and A.E.M. Grétry (1797) Lisbeth, drame lyrique en trois actes (Paris: Vente, Duchesne, Chaignieau, and Desjours). Lisbeth, drame lyrique en trois actes Google Scholar

Fouquet, Henri (2013) ‘Sensibilité, sentiment, (médecine)’, in Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, etc., ed. Robert Morrissey. ARTFL Encyclopédie Project. http://artflsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.14:43.encyclopedie0513 (accessed 31 May 2016). Google Scholar

Friedland, Paul (2002) Political Actors: Representative Bodies & Theatricality in the Age of the French Revolution (New York: Cornell University Press). Political Actors: Representative Bodies & Theatricality in the Age of the French Revolution Google Scholar

Geoffroy-Schwinden, Rebecca (2015) ‘Politics, the French Revolution, and performance: Parisian musicians as an emergent professional class, 1749–1802’ PhD diss., Duke University. Politics, the French Revolution, and performance: Parisian musicians as an emergent professional class, 1749–1802 Google Scholar

Gray, Vivienne (1987) ‘Mimesis in Greek historical theory’, The American Journal of Philology 108.3: 467–486. Mimesis in Greek historical theory The American Journal of Philology 108.3 467 486 Google Scholar

Grétry, A.E.M. (1829) Mémoires, ou essais sur la musique, ed. J.H. Mees (3 vols) (Brussels: Aug. Wahlen, Librairie-imprimerie de la cour). Mémoires, ou essais sur la musique Google Scholar

Jaucourt, Louis de (2013) ‘Sensibilité (morale)’, in Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, etc., ed. Robert Morrissey. ARTFL Encyclopédie Project. http://artflsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.14:44.encyclopedie0513 (accessed 31 May 2016). Google Scholar

Mongrédien, Jean (1980) Jean-François Le Sueur: contribution à l’étude d’un demi-siècle de musique française (1780–1830) (2 vols) (Bern, Frankfurt, Las Vegas: Peter Lang). Jean-François Le Sueur: contribution à l’étude d’un demi-siècle de musique française (1780–1830) Google Scholar

Morgenstern, Sam (1956) Composers on Music: An Anthology of Composers’ Writings (London: Faber and Faber). Composers on Music: An Anthology of Composers’ Writings Google Scholar

O’Neal, John (1996) The Authority of Experience Sensationist Theory in the French Enlightenment (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press). The Authority of Experience Sensationist Theory in the French Enlightenment Google Scholar

Riccoboni, François (1750) L’art du théâtre (Paris : C.F. Simon and Giffart). L’art du théâtre Google Scholar

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1748) ‘Compositeur’, in Dictionnaire de musique (Paris: Duchesne). Compositeur Dictionnaire de musique Google Scholar

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1753) Lettre sur la musique française (no publication details). Lettre sur la musique française Google Scholar

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1758) Lettre à M. d’Alembert sur les spectacles (Amsterdam: Marc Michel Rey). Lettre à M. d’Alembert sur les spectacles Google Scholar

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (2013) ‘Musique’, in Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, etc., ed. Robert Morrissey. ARTFL Encyclopédie Project. http://artflsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.9:2337. encyclopedie0513 (accessed 31 May 2016). Google Scholar

Scott, John T. (ed.) (1998) Essay on the Origin of Languages and Writings Related to Music. Vol. 7: The Collected Writings of Rousseau, ed. Roger D. Masters and Christopher Kelly (7 vols) (Hanover: University Press of New England). Essay on the Origin of Languages and Writings Related to Music. Vol. 7: The Collected Writings of Rousseau Google Scholar

Taruskin, Richard (1992) ‘Tradition and authority’, Early Music 20.2: 311–325. Tradition and authority Early Music 20.2 311 325 Google Scholar

Voltaire (2013) ‘Gens de Lettres’, in Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, etc., ed. Robert Morrissey. ARTFL Encyclopédie Project. http://artflsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.6:927:1. encyclopedie0513 (accessed 31 May 2016). Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Huff, Jonathan