Francophone Music Criticism, 1789-1914

La critique musicale en France et dans les pays francophones, 1789-1914

The musical and theatrical press is central to our understanding of nineteenth-century musical culture. It provided a parallel universe to that of the theatre, church, café-concert and concert hall, giving its original reading public vicarious access to those same pleasures. Press criticism contains material that helps us grasp how music, dramaturgy and ballet were understood, and, with its wealth of detail on interpretation and production values, has tangible practical value on the operatic stage or in the concert hall today.

Francophone Music Criticism, 1789-1914’ responds to the importance of the press as part of a cultural history of music in a number of ways:

  • The project centres on a database of digitally-edited texts, grouped in discrete collections that are made up of the collected works of a single author, the contents of a single journal, a dossier de presse of a single work, or of another coherent grouping of material.  These collections are made up of newly-acquired data and the repurposing of pre-existing analogue material.
  • The project is supported by around 200 scholars world-wide, linked by a JISC discussion group: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/FRENCH-MUS-CRIT.html. The JISCMAIL list is open to all interested scholars who meet annually, and usually in Paris, to present papers and to discuss the progress of the project.  Links to reports, programmes and abstracts are given below.
  • The project publishes a number of additional digital resources which are made available on this website here

This website provides a portal to two collections of resources for researchers interested in music criticism and in the more general musical culture of the nineteenth century in France.

  • a repository of digitized, searchable reviews relating to French music and ballet in the nineteenth century. Texts are grouped into collections devoted to particular works, events, series, performers or authors, resulting in a significant corpus of texts never before available on open access. (See ‘Collections’ and ‘Search Collections’)
  • bibliographical resources, work in progress and information of a more general nature, contributed by members of the Network and mounted in the hope that users will contribute updates. (See ‘Collections’)

The project is managed by Katharine Ellis (University of Bristol) and Mark Everist (University of Southampton). It is hosted by the Department of Music, University of Southampton.

We are an ever-expanding group of academics, librarians, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. We began with around 30 members and now number nearly 200. We run at least one international event per year. Meetings are routinely bilingual (French/English), and most frequently take place in Paris.

JMC Issue I (2017)