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date: 08 August 2020

Escherny, François-Louis, Comte d’locked

  • Philip Weller

Extract

(b Neuchâtel, 23orNov 24, 1733; d Paris, July 15, 1815). Swiss writer on music. A journey to Italy in the early 1750s was formative in shaping his taste for Italian opera. He then moved to Paris, where he frequented literary-philosophical circles, and in 1763–5 followed Rousseau to Switzerland. Escherny’s Fragments sur la musique (Paris, 1809), which also appeared as part of a larger work, the Mélanges de littérature (Paris, 1811), contains miscellaneous criticism; much of the writing is anecdotal (albeit vivid and picturesque), but his musical acumen cannot be doubted. Like Chastellux he favoured the principles of bel canto singing; he thought that music for the theatre should set this in proper relief.

Escherny allows Gluck a prodigious gift for powerful and awe-inspiring effects of orchestration and harmony in ‘le genre sombre et terrible’, but denies him that of melody. He claimed to have met Gluck in Vienna as early as ...

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