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Music, Musicians, and the Saint-Simonians

The Saint-Simonians, whose movement flourished in France between 1825 and 1835, are widely recognized for their contributions to history and social thought. Until now, however, no full account has been made of the central role of the arts in their program. In this skillful interdisciplinary study, Ralph P. Locke describes and documents the Saint-Simonians’ view of music as an ideological tool and the influence of this view on musical figures of the day.

The disciples of Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon, believed that increased industrial production would play a crucial role in improving the condition of the working masses and in shifting power from the aristocratic "drones" to the enterprising men of talent then rising in the French middle class. As a powerful means of winning support for their views, music became an integral part of the Saint-Simonians’ writings and ceremonial activities.

Among the musicians Locke discusses are Berlioz, Liszt, and Mendelssohn, whose tangential association with the Saint-Simonians reveals new aspects of their social and aesthetic views. Other musicians became the Saint-Simonians’ faithful followers, among them Jules Vinçard, Dominique Tajan-Rogé, and particularly Félicien David, the movement’s principal composer. Many of these composers’ works, reconstructed by Locke from authentic sources, are printed here, including the "Premier Chant des industriels," written at Saint-Simon’s request by Rouget de Lisle, composer of the "Marseillaise."


418 pages | 28 halftones, 52 p. of musical facsimiles | 7.00 x 10.00 | © 1986

History: European History

Music: General Music

Table of Contents

List of Plates
Abbreviations and Symbols
Part One: Introduction
1. Music for an Old Tale
2. Master and Posthumous Disciples
Part Two: Theory
3. Art as a Means of Social Control
Social Roles for Art
Saint-Simon’s Views and Their Roots
4. The Development of Saint-Simon’s Views on Art, 1801-25
Three Phases
Before the "Lettres"
The "Lettres d’un habitant de Genève"
The "Scientific" and "Industrialist" Years
A Song for Industry
Last Writings: Art and Religion
5. The Early Saint-Simonians on Music and Aesthetics, 1825-26
The "Dialogue"
"Le Producteur"
6. The Role of the Artist in the Mature Saint-Simonian Social Scheme, 1828-31
Organic and Critical Ages
Artist and Priest
7. Organic Art and Music, 1828-32
Art and History
Music Past and Present
Religious Music of the Future
Views on Art and Music during a Year of Crisis (1831-32)
Part Three: Practice
8. The rue Monsigny and Salle Taitbout: Music in the Formative Years
The Movement Becomes a Religion: Hierarchy and Ritual
Public Lectures, Internal Gatherings, and Semipublic Soirees
Musician Visitors, Musician Members
Tajan-Rogé and Félicien David
"La question de la femme" and the Two Schisms
9. Six Musicians in Contract with the Saint-Simonians
Halévy and the Saint-Simonians
Nourrit and the Saint-Simonians
Liszt and the Saint-Simonians
Hiller and the Saint-Simonians
Mendelssohn and the Saint-Simonians
Berlioz and the Saint-Simonians
A Force for Change
10. Music at the Ménilmontant
Organization of Musical Life at Ménilmontant
David’s First Pieces for Ménilmontant; the Taking of the Habit
July: The Temple Ceremonies and Two Funerals
Music during the Decline of the Retreat; Undatable Pieces
The Dispersal of the Apostles
11. Vinçard and the Saint-Simonian Chanson
The Musical Life of the Famille de Paris
Chanson Tradition, Béranger, and the Work of the Saint-Simonian Chansonniers
The Chansonniers, the "Marseillaise," and Later Generations
Vinçard’s Songs
Survival of the Works of David during the Dispersal
Part Four: Echoes
12. The Musicians during the Dispersal and the Egyptian Mission
David and His Works Travel South
Rogé’s Subsequent Activity in France; Henri Reber
13. 1836-76: The Movement in Decline
Debris of a Great Shipwreck
Vinçard’s Activities after 1835
David’s Isolation and First Steps toward a Career
"Le Désert" and David’s Tour of Germany
"Moïse au Sinaï," "Christophe Colomb," and "L’Eden"
David and Saint-Etienne; David’s Operas; Retirement
Rogé in Saint Petersburg and Paris; Friendship with Berlioz
14. The Challenge of the Saint-Simonian Musical Effort
Appendix A. Saint-Simon, Rouget de Lisle, and the "Premier Chant des industriels"
Appendix B. Selected Lists of Saint-Simonian Chansons
1. Propagandistic Publications of Late 1832 and 1833
2. Other Collections
3. Single Chansons Referring to Special Occasions
4. Sets of Songs Sung at Particular "réunions"
Appendix C. Five Songs by Vinçard
1. "Elan!" (1840)
17. "Le Brin d’herbe" (1863)
27. "Le Retour" (1835)
29. "Nous violà" (1836)
34. "La Ronde de Saint-Simon" (1861)
Appendix D. Catalog of Saint-Simonian Works by Félicien David and Henri Reber
Appendix E. Selected Saint-Simonian Works by Félicien David
1. "Hymne à Saint-Simon"
2. "Appel"
3. "Avant et après le repas"
5. "Le Retour du Père" or "Salut"
6. "Le Nouveau Temple" or "Chant de l’ouverture des travaux du Temple"
9. "Prière du soir"
10. "Prière du matin"
14. "Ronde"
14a. Alternative text for "Ronde," by Lagache
15. "La Danse des astres"
16. "Peuple fier! peuple fort!" or "Le Peuple"
16a. Songster pages with additional text for "Peuple fier"
29. "Belle, oh belle comme l’ange" from "Hymne à la Mère"
Note on Sources

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