Evenings With the Orchestra

Evenings With the Orchestra

Book - 1999
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During the performances of fashionable operas in an unidentified but "civilized" town in northern Europe, the musicians (with the exception of the conscientious bass drummer) tell tales, read stories, and exchange gossip to relieve the tedium of the bad music they are paid to perform. In this delightful and now classic narrative written by the brilliant composer and critic Hector Berlioz, we are privy to twenty-five highly entertaining evenings with a fascinating group of distracted performers. As we near the two-hundredth anniversary of Berlioz's birth, Jacques Barzun's pitch-perfect translation of Evenings with the Orchestra --with a new foreword by Berlioz scholar Peter Bloom--testifies to the enduring pleasure found in this most witty and amusing book.

"[F]ull of knowledge, penetration, good sense, individual wit, stock humor, justifiable exasperation, understanding exaggeration, emotion and rhetoric of every kind."--Randall Jarrell, New York Times Book Review

"To succeed in [writing these tales], as Berlioz most brilliantly does, requires a combination of qualities which is very rare, the many-faceted curiosity of the dramatist with the aggressively personal vision of the lyric poet."--W. H. Auden, The Griffin
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [1999]
Copyright Date: ©1999
ISBN: 9780226043746
0226043746
Branch Call Number: 780.94436 B4558E 1999
Characteristics: xxvi, 381 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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nptphoto
May 08, 2012

For some reason, I'd thought that this was going to be a collection of concert reviews or reminiscences, a kind of musical diary. Instead, it's a boring compendium of Canterbury Tales-esque sagas being swapped by musicians in an orchestra pit -- as they perform ostensibly insipid scores of the mid 19th-century. Berlioz's stories within this framework are pitiful, idiotic pretexts for violence, on the most specious grounds, between persons of supposed culture, standing, and so forth. If these are meant to be satirical (I doubt it), these one-note narratives fall flat. And THIS is what Berlioz spent his free time thinking about??? If you think his Symphonie Fantastique, trotted out every Halloween, is bombastic, try his deadly prose. No -- on second thought -- DON'T!!!!!

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nptphoto
May 08, 2012

nptphoto thinks this title is suitable for 60 years and over

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