Herold, Ferdinand


Herold, Ferdinand

Première et Deuxième Symphonie à grand orchestre

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Ferdinand Herold – 2 Symphonies à grand orchestra

(b. Paris, 28. January 1791 – d. Neuilly-sur-Seine, Département Hauts-de-Seine, 19. January 1833)

C major and D major

The two symphonies of Louis Joseph Ferdinand Herold occupy a unique place in his œuvre. The status of the works seems to run counter to the established understanding of the genre. After all, the symphony in the early 19th century constituted a genre that since Haydn and through Beethoven was considered in a way as the supreme discipline beside the piano sonata and the string quartet – even if this applies primarily, it has to be said, to the German-speaking area, which Herold was to visit only after the composition of his symphonies. In France at this time, after the Revolution had brought the glory-days of Haydn’s works to an abrupt end, the symphony led a shadowy existence beside music theatre, which was the dominant genre. For the history of reception it was specifically this aspect of French musical culture that was its undoing, since ‘absolute music’, which was paradigmatically represented by the symphony, stood at the centre of attention. This view dominated even in France, where at the beginning of the 20th century music critic Julien Tiersot insisted: ‘Ce fut une erreur singulière des musiciens français de ce temps-là de ne voir en la symphonie qu’un genre scholastique’ [‘It was a remarkable error on the part of French musicians of this time to treat the symphony merely as an academic genre’].1 The genre, he went on, was to such an extent regarded as a pure ‘travail d’école’ that the composition of new symphonies was basically restricted to the so-called ‘envois de Rome’, pieces that composers awarded the Prix de Rome of the Paris Conservatoire had to submit as a fulfilment of the scholarship regulations. Even if there is no doubt that the status of French symphonic writing should be seen in a more nuanced way, Tiersot’s observation applies to Herold’s symphonies: the two works date from 1813 and 1814, when Herold was staying in Italy as winner of the Prix de Rome scholarship, and he submitted them to the Conservatoire as ‘envois de Rome’. They seem to have had no great significance, either for himself, or for his reception. Even while he was in Italy he was wholly committed to opera, and his significance for the history of 19th century music is based on his works in the field of music theatre. Nevertheless, Herold’s symphonies are works that should be seen in the context of their genesis and in that of the history of music, and even if they were to have no longer-term influence, they represent significant moments in the biography and the output of the composer. …


Full preface / Ganzes Vorwort > HERE

Score Data


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210 x 297 mm





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