Books

HermioneQuinet

Ce que dit la musique

Hermione Quinet Presented and annotated by Fanny Gribenski, Étienne Jardin

Series: Actes Sud / Palazzetto Bru Zane
409 pages | ISBN 978-2330057688 | 2016

French book

Advised by her doctor to visit the concert halls and opera houses of Paris in order to treat a nervous breakdown linked to the death of her husband, Hermione Quinet produced a “hymn of gratitude” to the art of music with her book, Ce que dit la musique, published in 1893. Combining her own listening impressions, artistic, historical and philosophical facts, with personal recollections, this work documents the effect on the author of performances put on by the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire and productions at the Paris Opera. With chapters centred around specific works or composers, the book turns the spotlight on Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Meyerbeer and Halévy, not to mention Gounod, while bearing witness to the rediscovery of ancient composers (particularly Bach).

The Actes Sud/Palazzetto Bru Zane collection—co-authored books, musicological essays, conference proceedings or archive documents—gives the floor to key actors and witnesses in the artistic history of the 19th century, as well as their present-day critics. Published at the rate of two to four books each season, the collection will examine many aspects of the French Romantic répertoire and the musical life of this period, focusing on the careers of famous or neglected composers as well as the history of the concert, musical genres and performers.

The author

Fanny Gribenski
A former pupil at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, associate professor in music and graduate of the Paris Conservatoire in music history and aesthetics, Fanny Gribenski has just completed a thesis at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) entitled L’Église Comme Lieu de Concert (1830-1905). She currently teaches at the University of Evry-Val-d’Essonne, where she is also associate researcher at the RASM research laboratory (Laboratoire Recherche Arts Spectacle et Musique).

Étienne Jardin
With a PhD in history from the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris), Étienne Jardin is researching French musical life from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. Co-founder and publishing director of the online journal Transposition. Musique et sciences Sociales (2010), he is currently scientific head of publications and symposia at the Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre de Musique Romantique Française. He has published Archives du Concert and contributed to Le Concerto pour piano français à l’épreuve des modernités, two books which appeared in the Actes Sud/Palazzetto Bru Zane collection in 2015.

Reviews

Hermione écrit ce qu’elle a vu et entendu, ce qu’elle pense de certains compositeurs ; des orchestres… Nous sommes en 1893, et Hermione est Hermione Quinet, la veuve d’Edgar. La collection « Palazzetto Bru Zane » des éditions Actes Sud publie en cette rentrée son Ce que dit la musique, dix années d’écrits et d’histoire de l’écoute à la fin du XIXe, siècle d’investigation privilégié pour le Centre de musique romantique française.


Guillaume Tion, Libération, janvier 2016

Encouragée, par le médecin qui souhaitait la guérir de sa mélancolie, à assister régulièrement aux soirées de la Société des concerts du Conservatoire et de l'Opéra, elle livra en 1893 une somme d'impressions d'écoute uniques en leur genre, remarquablement introduites et commentées pour cette réédition par Fanny Gribenski et Etienne Jardin. […] Il en résulte ce document, précieux, de l'histoire des mentalités, sans doute le premier récit d'une musicothérapie.


La Lettre du Musicien, février 2016