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Gambara by Honoré de Balzac
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only for musicologists
By sally tarbox on 15 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
Novella of some 70 pages (in my edition).
This starts out very well, with an Italian count falling in love with a poor woman in Paris. On making her acquaintance, he finds she is married to a delusional musician/ composer. Despite talking grandly about his music, the husband only produces rubbish unless drunk. The count nobly decides to try and help him achieve success before trying to seduce the wife.
There now follow PAGES of deep musical conversation which will alienate all but the musicologists among us. They compare Rossini and Beethoven; the composer talks us through the opera he has written; they criticise a work by Meyerbeer.

'And are you not struck by the gloom and horror of those long-held notes to which the words are set?...We find here all the sinister spells of Jerusalem Delivered just as we find all chivalry in the chorus with the Spanish lilt and in the march tune. How original is the allegro with the modulations of the four cymbals (tuned to C, D, C, G) !'

And MUCH MUCH MORE of the same.
Unexpected end but that can't make up for the musical tedium! ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
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To Monsieur le Marquis de Belloy
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New Year's Day of 1831 was pouring out its packets of sugared almonds, four o'clock was striking, there was a mob in the Palais Royal, and the eating houses were beginning to fill.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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