Now that’s criticism!


I just received the first tranche of six volumes of Essays in Musical Analysis by Donald Francis Tovey, which are en-poste to me from a sprinkling of Amazon Marketplace vendors, and the opening of Tovey’s essay on Harold in Italy by Hector Berlioz has already justified my modest outlay:

There are excellent reasons for reading Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. But among them I cannot find any that concern Berlioz and this symphony, except for the jejune value of the discovery that no definite elements of Byron’s poem have penetrated the impregnable fortress of Berlioz’s encyclopaedic inattention.

So much more witty than just saying: “Berlioz seems to have ignored Byron’s words when writing his music.”

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