The influences of French social romanticism of the 1830's on Franz Liszt's essay "De la situation des artistes et de leur condition dans la societe"
Frenkel, Ann M.
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Franz Liszt's essay, "De la Situation des Artistes et de leur Condition dans la Societe," published in the Gazette musicole de Paris between 5 May and 11 October 1835, is one of the first comprehensive studies by a nineteenth-century French composer on the status of musicians in society. Liszt criticizes contemporary society for exploiting the talents of artists while disregarding their needs, and concerns himself with the creation of a new position for artists in society. The most frequently cited influence of the essay has been Liszt's contact with the Saint-Simonians movement. I wish to show that emphasis on the Saint-Simonians fails to show properly Liszt's debt to French Romantic ideas and philosophies during the 1830's. I define the social romantictsm that infused France and French artists and literary figues such as Victor Hugo, Alfred de Vigny and Alphonse de Lamartine, in the 1830's, and differentiate it from the utopian socialism of the period. I give an overview of the state of music journalism during the 1830's in Paris and discuss various relevant music-related journalists and their influences. specific aims and styles. Finally, I look at the compositional forms promoted and utilized by the Saint-Simonians and examine the compositions of Liszt during this period to see the extent of Liszt's experimentation with Saint-Simonian ideas within his musical compositions, and make conclusions as to the principal musical ideas which the Liszt pursued. Though this critique of the essay, and a discussion of the various influences which led up to it, I suggest an interpretation that clearly recognizes Liszt's place within the French social romantics during the 1830's.
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