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Chamber music – Chamber music in the second half of the 19th century

Regarded as an essentially classical and scholarly genre, chamber music remained the domain of reason in the second half of the 19th century. The incipient decline of Italian opera and Berlozian programme music favoured a return to the composition of pure music, as was the case in poetry and painting. The great German masters (Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schumann) continued to feature prominently in concert programmes, even after the defeat of 1870, despite the foundation of the Société Nationale de Musique by Saint-Saëns and Bussine, whose motto, “Ars Gallica”, signalled the society’s aim to promote the French repertory. This last initiative favoured composition for this genre, and revealed a desire to create a typically French style of chamber music. Although influenced by the Germanic aesthetic, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Franck, d’Indy—followed by their pupils, Ravel, Schmitt or Koechlin—gradually moved away from it to create a resolutely original style, ranging from Franck’s chromaticism and the influence of folk music, to Fauré’s enharmonic changes and Debussy’s modal melodies.

    Works - 2
  • Concert (Ernest Chausson)
  • Violin Sonata Op. 8 (Camille Chevillard)