Sunday, 20 December 2015

An Index: Shaw on Music, ed. Eric Bentley (1955), Applause, 2000


NB. I have been rereading this excellent selection of Bernard Shaw’s ever-fresh musical criticism and decided, besides having plenty of fun, to do something useful – like compiling an index, for example. By no means is it comprehensive. I have taken the liberty to omit the countless names of nowadays forgotten musicians which Shaw mentions in his reviews. I have tried to include all major composers, works, singers and instrumentalists, but even here I have exercised a good deal of ruthless cutting; I have retained only what I think most interesting and characteristic. For the few names that recur constantly (marked in bold), I have also tried to give some idea of Shaw’s opinions; these are grouped in the beginning of each entry. Operatic characters and works, in this order, follow after that; they are listed only under their respective composers, never separately, and always with their original titles (even though Shaw often used English translations). Page numbers against a composer’s name mean general references that I consider significant. It’s been quite a challenge to follow Shaw’s nimble thought.

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685–1750): 14, 27, 38-40.
-       The Art of Fugue: 27.
-       Mass in B minor: 30, 37-40.
Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770–1827): 14, 27, 53-4, 80, 83-9, 194.
-       Comparison with Mozart and Haydn: 85-6.
-       Moral horror of Mozart: 85
-       Leonora No. 3: 84, 92.
-       Symphony No. 7: 79-80 (“clumsy and obvious sensationalism”), 81-2, 84.
-       Symphony No. 9: 50, 76, 84 (allusion?), 115.
Bellini, Vincenzo (1801–1835)
-       La Sonnambula: 23.
Berlioz, Hector (1803–1869): 80, 82, 103, 162.
-       Le Damnation de Faust: 97-103.
-       Romeo et Juliett: 194.
Bizet, Georges (1838–1875)
-       Carmen: 94 (inferior to Der Freischütz), 187.
-       Carmen (Carmen): 192-3.
Boito, Arrigo (1842–1918): 162.
-       Mefistofele: 162.
Brahms, Johannes (1833–1897): 30, 162.
Chopin, Frederic (1810–1849): 303-5.
Dickens, Charles (1812–1870): 74-5, 172.
Donizetti, Gaetano (1797–1848): 182-3.
Elgar, Edward (1843–1907): 27.
Gluck, Christoph Wilibald (1714–1787)
-       Operatic reforms: 111.
-       Orfeo ed Euridice: 50, 62-66.
Gilbert, William S. (1836–1911) & Sullivan, Arthur (1842–1900): 213-9.
Gounod, Charles (1818–1893): 162.
-       Comparison with Spontini: 112.
-       Opinion of Don Giovanni: 76-7.
-       Mephistopheles (Faust): 16.
Grieg, Edvard (): 83.
Handel, Georg Friedrich (1685–1759)
-       Messiah: 245-51.
Haydn, Joseph (1732 – 1809):
-       Attitude to Mozart and Beethoven: 74.
-       Opinion of himself: 75.
Hugo, Victor (1802–1895): 171.
-       Comparison with Molière: 80, 129.
-       Comparison with Verdi: 137.
Jazz: 84, 89 (“the old dance band beethovenized”).
Leoncavallo, Ruggero (1857–1919): 182-3, 187.
Liszt, Franz (1811–1886): 80, 82.
-       Inferno (Dante Symphony): 103.
Mascagni, Pietro (1863–1945)
-       Cavalleria rusticana: 36-37, 160-2, 183, 187, 194.
Mendelssohn, Felix (1809–1847): 3, 92, 162.
-       Ernani greater than his concertos and Scotch Symphony: 133.
-       Influence over Verdi: 134, 136.
-       Elijah: 255-7.
-       Italian Symphony: 104.
-       St Paul: 162.
Meyerbeer, Giacomo (1791–1864): 28, 92.
-       Les Huguenots: 28, 31.
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564): 15-6.
Molière, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622–1673): 74, 80, 162.
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756–1791): 68, 70, 109, 162.
-       Greater than Haydn: 76.
-       Neglect by the superficial public: 80-2.
-       Not a founder of new school: 75-6.
-       Perfect vs innovation in his works: 73-5.
-       Personal inability to criticise him fairly: 76-7.
-       Versatility: 85.
-       Vocal characterisation (cf. Verdi & Wagner): 130
-       Commendatore (Don Giovanni): 16.
-       Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni): 16, 70-1, 85.
-       Finale (Don Giovanni): 72.
-       Leporello (Don Giovanni): 68.
-       Zerlina/Leporello duet (Don Giovanni): 69 (“a very dispensable piece of buffoonery”).
-       Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte): 85.
-       Das Veilchen: 76, 83.
-       Die Entf : 75-6, 81
-       Die Zauberflöte: 76, 109.
-       Don Giovanni: 27, 36-7, 53-4, 67-72, 87 (overture), 130 (vocal characterisation).
-       Fantasia in C minor: 83.
-       Idomeneo: 27.
-       Jupiter Symphony [No. 41]: 87.
-       Le nozze di Figaro: 152.
-       Requiem: 3, 78.
Offenbach, Jacques (1819–1880): 201-2.
Paderewski, Ignacy Jan (1860–1941): 299-302.
Patti, Adelina (1843–1911): 156, 189-91.
Praxitelles (???): 74-5.
Puccini, Giacomo:
-       Manon: 183-4.
-       Likely successor to Verdi (in 1894!): 184.
Raphael (1483–1520): 74-5.
Reszke, Jean de (1850–1925): 126, 190.
Rossini, Gioacchino (1792–1868): 80, 139.
-       Orchestration: 89-90 (“the most “absolute” of musicians”).
-       Otello: 92.
-       Semiramide Overture: 91-2.
-       William Tell: 30, 93.
Ruskin, John (1819–1900): 48-56.
Shakespeare, William (1564–1616): 74, 113, 129, 172.
-       Othello: 142 (related to Verdi).
-       Romeo and Juliet: 114.
Schoenberg, Arnold (1874–1951): 155.
Schumann, Robert (1810–1856): 92, 162.
-       Szenen aus Goethes Faust: 162.
Verdi, Giuseppe (1813–1901): 33, 128, 134, 137-40, 148, 162, 171-3.
-       Adapting Shakespeare: 141-3.
-       Boito’s influence: 132, 136.
-       Changes with age: 135-6, 143.
-       Comparison with Spontini: 112.
-       Humour: 128-9, 139-41.
-       Scorn for other critics of Verdi: 133-4.
-       Vocal characterisation (cf. Mozart & Wagner): 129-32, 143-4.
-       Wagner’s influence: 134-8.
-       Count di Luna (Il trovatore): 2, 16, 131 (tessitura).
-       Falstaff: 50, 129-30.
-       Aida: 129, 135.
-       Ernani: 128, 133.
-       Falstaff: 50, 127-8, 132-3, 185-6.
-       Il trovatore: 129, 137-8, 148-54, 156-7.
-       La Traviata: 162.
-       Otello: 129 (humour), 136 (Boito’s influence), 142-3 (related to Shakespeare).
-       Rigoletto: 157-8.
-       Un ballo in maschera: 129 (humour).
Wagner, Richard (1813–1883): 14, 30, 53-4, 109, 112-4, 132, 135, 162, 182, 189-90, 194.
-       Bayreuth Festival: 116-26.
-       Comparison with Gluck: 111.
-       Greater than Beethoven: 76.
-       Not a founder of new school: 75-6.
-       Vocal characterization (cf. Verdi & Mozart): 130.
-       Walkürenritt: 30, 80-2, 103-4.
-       Loge: 108 (“northern Mephistopheles”).
-       Wotan: 110.
-       Götterdämmerung: 30
-       Das Rheingold: 28, 105-10.
-       Der fliegende Hollander: 162-4.
-       Der Ring des Nibelungen: 28.
-       Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: 30, 36-7.
-       Lohengrin: 27, 122-4 (in Bayreuth).
-       Parsifal: 30, 119 (in Bayreuth).
-       Rienzi: 93.
-       Siegfried: 105.
-       Tannhäuser: 161.
-       Tristan und Isolde: 30, 113-5 (compares with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), 182.
Weber, Carl Maria von Weber (1786–1826)
-       Der Freischütz: 93-96.

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