Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Music Criticism


James A. Deaville




The feuilletons that Françios-Henri-Joseph Blaze, better known as Castil-Blaze, wrote for the Parisian daily newspaper the Joumal des Débats between 1820 and 1832 represent his greatest involvement with music journalism. His appointment as chief music feuilletonist was a turning point for music criticism in France as it opened the door for trained musicians rather than just literary critics to proffer their opinions about music. While establishing himself as a translator of operas and adapter of pasticcios for the French stage, he addressed musical issues and created vivid portraits of the musical scene in Paris through his feuilletons signed "X.X.X." . His analyses of works were evocative in nature, calling upon the reader to re-create the events in his or her mind.

Castil-Blaze's feuilletons contain opinions about music which were prefigured in his twovolume book De rOpera en France. His views, however, did not remain static, but were . modified over time through encountering new works by Weber, Auber, Rossini, Meyerbeer, as well as Beethoven. His feuilletons also provide insight into the issues, personalities, institutions, and vocal and instrumental virtuosi of his time and place. In short, they are a window onto their author and the musical life of France during the Restoration.

Chapter One deals with the life and career of Castil-Blaze. Chapter Two examines both the text and the reading of the feuilleton. Castil-Blaze's manner of analysis, identified herein as "evocative analysis," is explored in light of reader-response criticism. Chapter Three considers Castil-Blaze's reviewing of the Parisian vocal and instrumental music scene and highlights notable institutions, musical personalities and issues of that era. Chapter Four concerns itself with his feuilletons about opera, while the fifth chapter investigates those about Beethoven. Chapter Six furnishes this document with a conclusion.

McMaster University Library

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Music Commons