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‘Il faut savoir l’Italien pour déchiffrer une romance française’: Italian Presence in the French Romance 1800 – 1850

‘Il faut savoir l’Italien pour déchiffrer une romance française’: Italian Presence in the French Romance 1800 – 1850
‘Il faut savoir l’Italien pour déchiffrer une romance française’: Italian Presence in the French Romance 1800 – 1850
The French romance is a short and simple strophic song for solo voice and a single accompanying instrument (namely the piano or guitar). Musically, the accompaniment presents unadorned figurations and the vocal style should have a limited virtuosity (including little ornamentation and vibrato and a narrow vocal range, for instance). Thematically, the text should be related to love and romance. It is primarily performed within a domestic environment, which particularly suits its intimate and naïve features. Its quintessential French character is widely noted by a number of nineteenth-century commentators and theorists. It is therefore noteworthy that, despite the initial wariness demonstrated by some French writers, many Italian composers significantly contributed to this French genre. This is the first study to place the romance within the context of its Italian influences. In addition, it provides an extensive database of the French romances composed by Italian musicians during the nineteenth century. An analysis of the repertory sheds light upon some significant romances, and these are used as prominent case studies throughout the thesis. The thesis also explores nineteenth-century discussions of the romance, and investigates the careers of notable Italian romanciers.
This study highlights two issues. First, an exploration of the important treatises reveals the main characteristics that are integral to the quintessential romance style. And second, analysis of the romances by Italian composers, conversely, exposes the wide and varying styles present (this includes aspects pertaining to form, accompaniment styles, and the vocal melody). Indeed, this is supported by the discovery that, as the nineteenth century progressed, there was a gradual acceptance of Italian composers contributing to this genre. In the late eighteenth century, Italian influences were considered a threat to the romance’s simplicity, and in the 1840s, composers were actively praised for incorporating both Italian and French styles into their romances.
Chapter 1, ‘History of the Romance’ provides an overview of the romance’s early definition and development. Chapter 2, ‘Romance as a French Genre’, places the nineteenth-century romance in the context of its reception, and studies its conventions as laid out in the treatises. Chapter 3, ‘Italians in Paris’, traces the progression from wariness to admiration of the Italian romanciers and investigates the careers of some important Italian figures. The final chapter, ‘Music of the “Italian” French Romances’ explores the music of the Italian composers, and demonstrates the wide ranging and varying styles prevalent in their romances.
Macfarlane, Helen
5d49ba8d-520d-4f4d-ba18-9aa509b77090
Macfarlane, Helen
5d49ba8d-520d-4f4d-ba18-9aa509b77090
Everist, Mark
54ab6966-73b4-4c0e-b218-80b2927eaeb0

Macfarlane, Helen (2015) ‘Il faut savoir l’Italien pour déchiffrer une romance française’: Italian Presence in the French Romance 1800 – 1850. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 567pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The French romance is a short and simple strophic song for solo voice and a single accompanying instrument (namely the piano or guitar). Musically, the accompaniment presents unadorned figurations and the vocal style should have a limited virtuosity (including little ornamentation and vibrato and a narrow vocal range, for instance). Thematically, the text should be related to love and romance. It is primarily performed within a domestic environment, which particularly suits its intimate and naïve features. Its quintessential French character is widely noted by a number of nineteenth-century commentators and theorists. It is therefore noteworthy that, despite the initial wariness demonstrated by some French writers, many Italian composers significantly contributed to this French genre. This is the first study to place the romance within the context of its Italian influences. In addition, it provides an extensive database of the French romances composed by Italian musicians during the nineteenth century. An analysis of the repertory sheds light upon some significant romances, and these are used as prominent case studies throughout the thesis. The thesis also explores nineteenth-century discussions of the romance, and investigates the careers of notable Italian romanciers.
This study highlights two issues. First, an exploration of the important treatises reveals the main characteristics that are integral to the quintessential romance style. And second, analysis of the romances by Italian composers, conversely, exposes the wide and varying styles present (this includes aspects pertaining to form, accompaniment styles, and the vocal melody). Indeed, this is supported by the discovery that, as the nineteenth century progressed, there was a gradual acceptance of Italian composers contributing to this genre. In the late eighteenth century, Italian influences were considered a threat to the romance’s simplicity, and in the 1840s, composers were actively praised for incorporating both Italian and French styles into their romances.
Chapter 1, ‘History of the Romance’ provides an overview of the romance’s early definition and development. Chapter 2, ‘Romance as a French Genre’, places the nineteenth-century romance in the context of its reception, and studies its conventions as laid out in the treatises. Chapter 3, ‘Italians in Paris’, traces the progression from wariness to admiration of the Italian romanciers and investigates the careers of some important Italian figures. The final chapter, ‘Music of the “Italian” French Romances’ explores the music of the Italian composers, and demonstrates the wide ranging and varying styles prevalent in their romances.

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Published date: June 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Music

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Local EPrints ID: 377914
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/377914
PURE UUID: b5076a28-ec5b-48c2-a6c5-41b91881f2dc

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Date deposited: 13 Jul 2015 09:16
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 20:56

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