Thursday, February 01, 2007

“History is what you remember”

Like his monumental book, From Dawn to Decadence (New York, 2000), Jacques Barzun’s contribution [“Fourteeen Points about Berlioz and the Public, or Why There is Still a Berlioz Problem”] was written almost entirely from memory.
— Peter Bloom, ed., Berlioz: Past, Present, Future (Rochester, 2003)

Point Three. Berlioz alive or dead has never had the backing of his native country. Though this may seem a curious need, the lack of that support is damaging. National pride promotes and defends. Only in France could it happen that among the concerts explicitly given in Berlioz’s honor on the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth, two of the half-dozen contained not a note of his music. Such facts carry a message and have influence. Until today, the attitude of more than one French critic toward Berlioz has been grudging and, at times, openly hostile.
— Jacques Barzun, ibid., p. 194.