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The music of Le Pré aux clercs

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‘It is quite the sort of opéra-comique music... that one hears every day, excellent Adam and no more than that’, grumbled Jules Janin in the issue of the Journal des débats published two days after the premiere of Le Pré aux clercs. To be sure, one may notice some echoes of La Dame blancheFra Diavolo, Le Comte Ory and even Der Freischutz, but – quite apart from the cosmopolitanism of which Hérold was so fond – it is equally possible to find presentiments of the Overture to Das Liebesverbot, the orgy from Les Huguenots or the ball scene from La traviata, while the somewhat vulgar binary motifs of Ambroise Thomas seem to be modelled on those of the older composer. Though doubtless derivative in certain respects, the score of Le Pré aux clercs went on to serve as a recipe book for the next half-century: Lecocq, Offenbach, Varney, Audran and even Bizet consulted it with profit, each to his own ends.

CD-Book Ferdinand Hérold. Le Pré aux clercs (2016). Translation: Charles Johnston.

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Le Pré aux clercs

Ferdinand HÉROLD


Eugène de PLANARD


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Ferdinand HÉROLD

(1791 - 1833)


publication date : 08/01/24