Composing the Citizen: Music as Public Utility in Third Republic France

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University of California Press, 2009 - History - 789 pages
"Jann Pasler's remarkable Composing the Citizen reaches well beyond what any book concerned with music in society has ever attempted. Concentrating on France of the Third Republic, from the 1870s through the early 1900s, she demonstrates convincingly how music--whether new, old, popular, or élite, whether performed at institutions of state (such as the Opéra), the Folies Bergère, concert halls, or the zoo--helped to redefine what it meant to be French under evolving political circumstances. Equally adept in the languages of history, sociology, political science, reception history, and music analysis, Pasler establishes music's cultural significance and implicitly illuminates the role it can still play in countries like the United States."--Philip Gossett, The University of Chicago and University of Rome, La Sapienza

"Composing the Citizen offers nothing less than a new paradigm for the study of musical cultures. Rather than forcing French music into the moulds developed for the Austro-German canon, Pasler simply studies the social uses of music in fin-de-siècle France. Her painstaking archival research allows her to present an astonishingly detailed account of musical practices, tastes, and activities; new names and genres come to the fore to engage in a variety of dynamic artistic scenes most of us never knew--or only thought we did by virtue of having read Proust. A masterwork of a scholar at the very peak of her career."--Susan McClary, MacArthur Fellow 1995 and author of Georges Bizet: Carmen and Modal Subjectivities: Self-Fashioning in the Italian Madgrigal

"Utilité publique: a common-sense republican notion of sweeping consequence. In this greatly anticipated volume Jann Pasler uses it as touchstone, showing how and why musical life so mattered in Third-Republic France: layer after layer of it, in a journey that takes us past the Opéra and Conservatoire to the pops concerts, department stores, the zoo, the world's fairs, the overseas colonies. Companionable as a well-worn Baedeker, seductive as Roger Shattuck's The Banquet Years, this exquisitely styled and paced achievement is also a compelling read."--D. Kern Holoman, author of Berlioz and The Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, 1828-1967

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About the author (2009)

Jann Pasler is Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego. Among her books is Confronting Stravinsky: Man, Musician, and Modernist (UC Press) and Writing through Music: Essays on Music, Culture, and Politics.

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