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The harlequin years : music in Paris, 1917-1929

Author: Roger Nichols
Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, ©2002.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Few decades in the life of any European city have been as rich in musical personalities and achievements as the 1920s in Paris. It was, as Stravinsky said, the hub of the musical world, popular for travelers because it was cheap. Composers working in or near the city included Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev as well as the up-and-coming members of Les Six, most notably Poulenc, Milhaud, and Auric.
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Material Type: Biography, Government publication, State or province government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Roger Nichols
ISBN: 0520237366 9780520237360
OCLC Number: 49226376
Description: 288 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Map: Paris in the 1920s --
1. The legacy of peace and war --
2. Orchestras, conductors, chamber ensembles --
3. The Opera --
4. The Opera-Comique and other musical theatres --
5. Operettes, music hall, revues, chansons --
6. Ballet --
7. The Establishment: the teaching institutions; the churches; the salons; the press --
8. Composers old and new --
9. Paris, the past and elsewhere.
Responsibility: Roger Nichols.
More information:

Abstract:

Few decades in the life of any European city have been as rich in musical personalities and achievements as the 1920s in Paris. It was, as Stravinsky said, the hub of the musical world, popular for travelers because it was cheap. Composers working in or near the city included Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev as well as the up-and-coming members of Les Six, most notably Poulenc, Milhaud, and Auric. Among their collaborators were the painters Picasso, Braque, Dufy, and Juan Gris, while Jean Cocteau kept a watchful eye on new trends. Horowitz, Robert Casadesus, and Vlado Perlemuter all made their Paris debuts in this decade, as did the young violin prodigies Ginette Neveu and Yehudi Menuhin. Women musicians were coming into their own: the composers Germaine Tailleferre and Lili Boulanger, salon hostesses like the Princesse de Polignac and Mae Clemenceau. The Harlequin Years charts a nimble course through this remarkable era, noting currents as well as personalities, telling stories as well as pondering the occasional philosophical problem.

Through the whole book runs the double thread spun by Jean Cocteau in his little volume Le coq et l'harlequin: the warp of the traditional French cock being pulled by the weft of the foreign, multicolored harlequinade. Roger Nichols's spirited narrative shows that this was also an uncertain time, as the war had cast doubt on old assumptions. Did wisdom necessarily come with age? Were hierarchies necessary? Irreverence was in, the circus was aesthetically at least as valuable as the finest symphony orchestra. Against all this some composers, like Fauré and Roussel, continued with traditional forms, though each brought to them his own highly personal language and syntax.

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