Review of Jann Pasler. 2009. Composing the Citizen: Music as Public Utility in Third Republic France. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Seto, Mark

Nineteenth-century French music, arguably more than other repertoires, seems to resist straightforward narrative history. In recent years, scholars have favored thematic studies of the period, concentrating on specific political or social phenomena (Spies 1998; Fulcher 1987, 1999), individual genres (Archbold and Peterson 1995; Huebner 1999; Lacombe 2001), or musical institutions (Strasser 1998,2001; Holoman 2004). Jann Pasler takes a similarly prismatic approach in her new book, but treats her subject with such remarkable breadth and attention to detail that the result is one of the most comprehensive examinations of French musical life to appear in recent memory.


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August 18, 2022