Paris: A Walking Tour
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter introduces the city of Paris. It shows that one can easily find the distinction of French faith or French culture in the use of the arts (such as music) within the physical geography of the city. It describes the structure of Paris as a possible model for thinking about the structure of the musical world. It then studies the Parisian landscape and topography, as well as the apparent web of symbolic relationships that are present. Next it views the city as a context for everyday life, thus turning the various monuments, structures, and urban occurrences into frameworks for what Michel de Certeau calls the “regimes of domination and control.” It also shows how the official structures in Paris orient and elevate certain perspectives. The final part of the chapter explains the main purpose of the book and discusses the legacy of the Third Republic.
Nowhere is the distinction of French culture or French faith in the utility of the arts clearer than in the physical geography of Paris. Promenades through the city, aided by pictorial guides, have long introduced visitors to its history and that of the nation.1 Whether along tree-lined avenues or narrow cobble-stoned alleys, historical time and space intersect with the present. To commemorate and legitimatize the interests of successive governments, considerable resources amassed from the country as a whole have gone into the creation of Paris's public architecture, sculpture, and urban design. While in many modern cities, buildings and urban design embody the economic priorities of private enterprise, in Paris, they use beauty to encode political and social values. The Gothic spires of the Hôtel de Ville, the Greek-inspired proportions of the Assemblée nationale, and the elegant cupolas of the Printemps department store assert that beauty and utility are not mutually exclusive, but can be interdependent.
Paris has served for centuries as a visual demonstration of the harmonious beauty of reason and power. As an architecture critic put it in 1870: “The public (p.2) monument, which addresses itself to everybody and belongs to the nation, needs to satisfy the general, national sentiment of beauty…. Beauty must shine on the face of our public buildings like glory on our army, holiness on our religions, loyalty on all acts of national life…. [It is] a profession of aesthetic faith by the race.”2 In the nineteenth century, private as well as public buildings in France embodied this aesthetic.3 They communicated, not only collective memory of their heritage, but also French aspirations and French pride. Whereas people elsewhere have sometimes viewed history as a “useless and crippling” burden and, before the postmodern era, have regularly purged the landscape of relics of the past, most French have typically enjoyed a sense of continuity in their culture.4 Widespread interest in history assured that, not just Parisians, but also provincial visitors and foreigners would recognize the city's references to the past and the present.5 Because Paris has long served to represent French values, understanding why and where these allusions appear is fundamental to developing a horizon of expectation about the French, their preferences, and their art.6
Experiencing the city is thus like an overture to its music. Walking through (p.3) neighborhoods and contemplating crucial intersections help us comprehend how French citizens have used culture to build an identity, and how culture, more than military power, provides the basis for a French sense of superiority in the world.7 The city's grandeur keeps alive memory of past greatness and explains why it has been so difficult for French people to get beyond that associated with the French kings, the Revolution, and Napoléon. The city, like French music, testifies to the importance many French ascribe to history and what they share as a people. Embodying the country's ideals, its monuments showcase their will to instruct as well as elevate. The urban environment attests to the overwhelming nature of state power in France, yet it also beckons beyond its prestigious emblems. Any promenade in the city invites us to acknowledge the fleeting as well as the durable aspects of culture, popular as well as elite expression, and to find meaning in both. In music, this means performances as well as compositions, amateur as well as professional practices. The juxtapositions of classes and neighborhoods, characteristic of other French cities as well, are the contexts for music-making and for the clashes and counterpoints of musical culture. The structure of Paris—its grand vistas, monuments, and bridges alongside its charming cafés, sinuous alleys, and hidden-away treasures—suggests a model for thinking about the structure of the musical world, where musical institutions are sited and their forms of power reside; it also encourages us to think about the kinds of networks music needs to thrive, and the sense of national fraternity as well as personal empowerment to which music can contribute.
Topographies of Power: The Semiotics of the Parisian Landscape
Indeed, on the stage of Paris, a theater for the accumulated narratives of history, we make meaning of the scripts laid out before us as public to its pasts and as players in its present. Through the flow of its landscape, Paris inscribes a web of symbolic relationships on each generation. The rationally ordered grid of some cities, like midtown Manhattan, suggests homogeneity and tight interconnections, while Los Angeles (sometimes compared to an “aleph”) and London (recently described as a “soft city”) are centerless labyrinths, defined by extraordinary heterogeneity and fragmented movement.9 Paris resembles more a living body. In good times its charms and sensuality are compared with those of a woman, its warrior soul with that of a man; in bad times Paris is condemned as an unhealthy prostitute or monster. The city's water and traffic traverse it in sensuous arabesques, cutting across it like intricately connected veins and arteries. People, materials, and ideas enter from every direction and leave transformed.
Parisians do not realize they can read the history of Western civilization in general and of France in particular like an open book [à livre ouvert] just by observing the architectural monuments, the “puzzle” of the map of Paris, in which each piece stands for a moment in human consciousness. Façades, roofs, dripstones, gutters, large rooms, deep paintings … all of these form a sort of backdrop, if you will, (p.4) against which the plot of more serious events, of events packed with death, sometimes develops, yet a backdrop of one of the most beautiful theaters imaginable.
The health and heartbeat of France depend on the concentration of political, social, economic, and cultural power in Paris. Although Parisians make up only 20 percent of the population, Paris is a microcosm of the complex coexistence of elites, small businessmen, and workers that constitute the nation. As Michelet once put it, only Paris can unite the country, attracting people from every corner. Moreover, centralized government has long been based in the city, its decisions affecting the whole country. Paris produces France's major newspapers and journals, and its urban design, public gardens, cafés, monuments, and concert organizations inspire others around the country. French people come to their capital expecting to encounter the latest fashions, whether in clothing, theater, or music, expecting perhaps also to be uplifted by its glory and feel pride in being French. Parisians themselves (p.5) may be a certain breed, quite distinct from the Lyonnais or the Bordelais, the Bretons or the Savoyards, and the desire to respect these differences as well as acknowledge resentment and reaction to the centrality of Paris has led to periodic attempts at decentralization. Yet because so many provincials (ambitious musicians among them) come to make their careers in the city, and Paris represents France to the rest of the world, inevitably the pendulum swings back. Government officials have long known this and used the state to play a strong role in shaping French interactions with their capital.10
Paris is a structure of interconnected parts. Each element may recall a “moment in human consciousness,” but what makes it understandable, what gives it meaning, is its relationship to other elements and to the whole, like a jigsaw puzzle.11 The metaphor of Paris as center of the nation (and, by extension, France, as center of the world) begins in its center and moves outward in a spiral (fig. 1). The Ile de la Cité, the original Lutetia, lies at its physical as well as historical core. This little island in the middle of the Seine river was relatively easy to defend until the Romans came. Subsequent rulers through Louis VII lived on it. There the Sainte-Chapelle and Notre-Dame Cathedral are perpetual reminders of the city's medieval past. Later, the official center of Paris migrated from the Cité to the first arrondissement, a rectangular-shaped district around the Louvre, including the western side of the Cité. In the fourteenth century, the palace moved across the Seine and successive monarchs enlarged it. During the Revolution, the Committee of Public Safety occupied it, and, until 1870, when the Communards forced the government to retreat to Versailles, the Louvre served as the seat of executive power. To the north, the first arrondissement takes in the Palais Royal, the seventeenth-century palace and gardens where Louis XIV lived as a child and revolutionary leaders called people to arms. Its eastern (p.6)
The succession of arrondissements around the first derives, not from some overarching plan, but from actual growth patterns in existence long before these administrative divisions were established. Beginning in the third century C.E., kings encircled Paris with walls, the last built in the mid nineteenth century. The imprint of these fortifications resulted in “three closed belts” that concentrated growth within them.12 The boulevards and avenues that replaced the walls not only determined the flow of circulation, they also gave future generations the impression (p.7) that Parisians liked to “turn in circles.”13 The arrondissements grew in tandem with these enclosures. They spiral out from the center, with the first through the sixth arrondissements in the middle (the city through the fourteenth century), the seventh through the eleventh encircling them (Paris through the mid nineteenth century), and the twelfth through the twentieth on the periphery (added in 1860). In nature, mathematics, and art, the spiral is associated with growth and energy. Thought to be the most beautiful curve, it combines the forces of inequality and resistance with a structure of perfect proportions. It also describes the form of the human ear. Paris too is like an ear, its outer areas encircling, protecting, and funneling energy toward its center.
To love Paris is to engage with it as one might with a book.14 Every neighborhood has a past; every building resembles music in bringing the old and the new into relationship.15 Neighborhoods provide symbolic frameworks for Parisians' identity, although none of the quartiers are socially homogeneous. Where Parisians live affects who they are, how they think, and what they see and hear, including the kind of music to which they might be exposed.
The Seine generates the most significant division of the city. Much of the city's intellectual and political life, major churches and ecclesiastical centers of learning, numerous ministries, and the country's premier military school are located its southern half, on the Left Bank. In the first century, the Romans expanded what is today the fifth arrondissement. The Université de Paris, with much of its teaching long based on classical Greek and Roman traditions, emerged in the twelfth century near today's Sorbonne. The sixth and seventh arrondissements became known as the “noble faubourg” in the early eighteenth century, when many aristocrats built sumptuous residences there. The Institut de France, a kind of annex to this faubourg dependent on its opinions, sits nearby along the Seine. Behind (p.8) the Ecole militaire lies the large open field (1 km long) called the Champ de Mars, named after the god of war, the only “monument” remaining from the Revolution, albeit empty space. During the Festival of the Federation on 14 July 1790, 600,000 revolutionaries reputedly gathered there. Beginning in 1799, the site has hosted the city's largest industrial exhibitions. The Eiffel Tower at its western edge, built for the 1889 Universal Exhibition, has symbolized not only the Third Republic but also the city's openness to technological progress and the future.
In contrast, the Right Bank—home of France's kings and the city's other elites—has traditionally served as the center of commerce, banking, the press, and theatrical life. The second arrondissement contains the city's central banks, the Stock Exchange, publishers, and newspapers. During the Ancien Régime, theaters condemned by the Church had to set up outside city limits, while seeking to remain close to their clientele. This explains the many theaters along the grands boulevards connecting the Opéra, the Place de la République, and the Bastille.16 There, department stores, cabarets, and cafés have also drawn people from all classes. At the end of the nineteenth century, the train stations at the Gare du Nord and Gare Saint-Lazare welcomed the lion's share of the city's visitors to these arrondissements, as well as to Montmartre, immediately to the north, known for its nightlife. It is no accident that the Conservatoire has always been on the Right Bank to be near these theaters and concert halls.
The interdependence of personal and professional relationships on each side of the Seine has contributed to certain distinctions. Until the early twentieth century, the Left Bank appeared calm, devout, and dull—according to those from the Right Bank, “nothing but a vast leaden convent covered with teary-eyed bells [cloches larmoyantes]”—while the Right Bank vibrated with commerce and economic activity. To inhabitants of the Left Bank, the Right seemed a “Sodom and Gomorrah.”17 This division also reflected the distinction between two rival conservative elites—Legitimist aristocrats (the traditional nobility) in the Faubourg Saint-Germain and Orléanist bankers (nouveaux riches in the nineteenth century) in the Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The latter tended to live in the eighth arrondissement behind the Champs-Elysées, where in 1880, rents were the highest in the city. In the middle of the nineteenth century, economically privileged elites moved further west, where, in the spacious salons of the seventeenth arrondissement, (p.9) the culture of conversation and music-making flourished. After 1890, the upper classes also settled the sixteenth arrondissement, in residences fitted out with the latest luxuries and facing the Eiffel Tower, a symbol of the modern age.
An aerial perspective cannot communicate what one learns on foot. The remnants of Paris's first urban renewal in the early seventeenth century still remain—narrow, picturesque streets, the Place Royale (now the Place des Vosges), and the Place Dauphine on the Ile de la Cité. But since the mid nineteenth century, much of the old town's knotty complexity has been replaced with wide, straight avenues, many of them conceived by Napoléon III and realized by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann.18 Besides other ambitions, including better hygiene and real estate speculation, they wished to control the populace, preventing the easy building of barricades, and hoped a new organization of space would give rise to a new society less bent on revolution. They also envisaged a perfectly harmonized environment, with a fixed proportion between the width of streets and the height of buildings. Together with their neatly trimmed, evenly arranged trees, lined up like soldiers, their ordered, almost monotone buildings of similar size lead the eye to vistas sculpted in the horizon. At key intersections, monuments or statues impose an element of stability on the topography, while offering a “useful pedagogy” to the masses. Since 1870, these statues, meant to hold up men of progress for the populace to emulate, have commemorated artists and intellectuals rather than military heroes and rulers.19 In Fargue's words, they give “body and soul to the past” as a succession, not just of wars, but also of ideals.20 Institutions are often juxtaposed at these sites in some significant way.
Since the late nineteenth century, one of the most symbolically instructive walks one can take in the city has been from the Louvre to the Place de la Concorde. After the Palais des Tuileries was demolished in 1883 (see below), the Louvre opened westward. Today, in its middle, one can trace a line from the Arc du Carrousel (fig. 2), commemorating Napoléon's victories, to the Egyptian obelisk in the Place de la Concorde, to the Arc de Triomphe, Napoléon's tribute to his imperial armies.21 Walking along this line clarifies Napoléon's ambition to surpass (p.10)
More symbolic juxtapositions seen from the Place de la Concorde, where Louis XVI and Robespierre were guillotined, suggest the new relationship Napoléon envisaged between church and state in postrevolutionary France.22 To the north and south, equidistant from the center, are two templelike buildings. Across the river is the Assemblée nationale. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Napoléon added a façade to what was originally a private residence and turned it (p.11) into the home of the French parliament. With its architectural shape and twelve Corinthian columns, it alludes to Greek architecture and the first attempts at democratic government in the West. Directly north up the rue Royale, the Sainte-Marie-Madeleine church reflects the shape of the Assemblée nationale, with almost the same façade. Some have called it the Parthenon of Western Europe.23 Before he built the Arc de Triomphe, Napoléon conceived the idea of rebuilding the Madeleine as a “temple of glory” in memory of his soldiers. It is the main church of the prestigious eighth arrondissement, and its parish quickly became one of the city's richest and most fashionable.
Surrounded by fountains imitating those of Saint Peter's Square in Rome and statues representing the eight major cities of France, the Luxor Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde recalls France's connection to a still older civilization (fig. 3). When juxtaposed with the Eiffel Tower in the distance, it encourages one to perceive an affiliation between ancien and moderne. Strangely similar in form, both rectangular columns set on pedestals and coming to a point at their crowns, the Obelisk and Eiffel Tower are symbols of eras their creators hoped would last for centuries.
The triangle of institutions north of the Louvre articulates another symbolic relationship between French institutions, this time linking the arts with the state. Until recently, the Ministry of Finance was located in the middle of the north wing of the Louvre, and across the street in the Palais Royal were the Ministry of Public Instruction and Fine Arts (now the Ministry of Culture) and the Conseil dʼEtat, the ultimate authority on all administrative decisions of the government. Directly in front of these ministries is France's premier theater of classical drama, the Comédie-Française. Then, at 45 degrees to the west in the distance is the Palais Garnier, or Paris Opéra, the Académie nationale de musique et danse. Completed in 1875, this became a symbol of the new Paris. In demolishing much to site it near banks, hotels, and department stores, the government demonstrated how important the arts had become in the city's commerce. Two years later, when they carved out the Avenue de lʼOpéra linking the Palais Garnier to the Comédie-Française, the Louvre, and the ministries that controlled them, the relationship between these guardians of the country's traditions became a permanent feature of the Paris landscape (fig. 4).24 Forming the third point of an invisible triangle, is the Opéra-Comique, north of the Comédie-Française, burnt down in 1887 and (p.12)
Bridges mark other important juxtapositions, some also symbolically significant. For artists, the most significant is the Pont des Arts. This metal footbridge (begun in 1802 but not completed until 1876) joins the principal courtyard of the Louvre to the Institut de France (figs. 5 and 6). The architect responsible for additions to the Louvre in the late seventeenth century, Louis Le Vau, also designed the Institut, which houses the five academies. Their related architecture suggests an analogous harmony between the past housed at the Louvre and the future conceived at the academies. The bridge contributes to this symbolism in several ways. First, in the eighteenth century, the royal academies and their artists took over the Louvre palace to work there. Second, the Pont des Arts has beckoned academicians to cross that bridge metaphorically, to connect with the country's past, to respect its traditions, and then to return to the present remembering the legacy of their predecessors. And third, the bridge reminds academicians of their duty to maintain this connection. Winners of the Prix de Rome have often assembled on the bridge after receiving the country's most prestigious art prizes, marking the end of their training and the beginning of their careers. The message of the site was clear: these artists and composers were the physical link between the art of the past housed at the Louvre—the country's memory—and the art of the future—the country's hope. It should not be surprising that many have often complained of the conservatism this implies.
The Pont Alexandre III (fig. 7) likewise symbolizes an alliance between institutions on either side, here linking the headquarters of French political power since 1870 (the presidential palace behind the Champs-Elysées) with that of French military power (the city's “military governor,” since 1892 at Les Invalides, a complex that houses Napoléon's tomb). Both banks of the river here are as grandiose as Paris gets, laden with emblems of the country's glory. Inaugurated in 1896 (p.15)
The story of Paris, however, is not just a story of elites, with their hopes, desires, and accomplishments. To the east, where workers, immigrants, and others of lesser means have traditionally congregated, lies another symbolic triangle of avenues. At its three points stand the Bastille column and statues representing the Republic and the Nation, all monuments commemorating struggle and the patriotism of ordinary people. The medieval rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine (connecting two of them and forming the southern border of the eleventh arrondissement) long housed furniture makers and woodworkers, who, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, were frequently revolutionaries. At either end, the Place de la Bastille and the Place de la Nation once functioned as entrances to the city. During the Revolution, guillotines stood in both. On the site of the storming of the Bastille fortress, a column commemorates victims of the July Revolution of 1830 that unseated King Charles X. At the Place de la Nation where ten radiating avenues coincide as at the Arc de Triomphe, a statue erected in 1899 depicts a woman standing for Justice and a man symbolizing Work. This “Triumph of the Republic” serves as a republican analogue to the Napoleonic military glories memorialized by the Arc de Triomphe. It also echoes another female symbol of the Republic up Haussmann's boulevard Voltaire to the northwest—an icon that has dominated the Place de la République, at the intersection of the third, tenth, and eleventh arrondissements, since 1883 (fig. 8). Historically, the French have used these sites to remember the dead and various revolutions; today, political and union demonstrators tend to gather there. Unlike at other key intersections in the city, however, one cannot see from one of these monuments to the next: the avenues are too long, or they curve. The effect and the message are different, signifying not glory, but working-class pride and hope for change.
Such heady symbolism in the landscape came at a cost. The creation of these avenues, many begun in the 1850s, entailed some of Haussmann's most devastating urban surgery, destroying thousands of homes and dispersing many people. Between 1860 and 1870, there were 3,926 expropriations of property in Paris, (p.18)
After 1870, disparities continued to increase in the city, especially between the rich and the poor. As the wealthy moved increasingly westward, workers, artisans, and lower-level employees, displaced by the construction of the grand avenues, migrated further east and northeast. By 1886, they constituted more than half the residents of Belleville (twentieth arrondissement), built after 1860 for those coming from the provinces to participate in Paris's reconstruction. Some workers remained in the city center near the central market, Les Halles (first arrondissement), (p.19) but others moved to the northern and southern gates to be near factories and slaughterhouses.28 Traveling north along the Saint-Martin Canal from the Place de la République to La Villette, one can see remnants of their modest houses before arriving at the site of the city's main slaughterhouse, built by Napoléon III, now a space for exhibitions and concerts.29 Workers could traverse the entire city on one of the thirty-two horse-drawn omnibus lines, the thirty-five tramway lines, the eight river boats (bateaux-mouches), and after 1900, the underground Métro. However, then as now, one rarely encountered elites in working-class neighborhoods. If the association of classes laborieuses with classes dangereuses did not deter them, the number of prisons and hospitals there may have.
Haussmann appears to have understood the havoc his new order wreaked. Attempting to stave off social unrest by providing recreation and relaxation for everyone, he and the chief of his Park Service, Alphonse Alphand, vastly expanded the city's public spaces. The state forests on either side of Paris became public gardens, and new ones were created.30 Given that people living in eastern Paris, many of them workers, caroused in the Bois de Vincennes on Sunday afternoons, while those in western arrondissements, most of them well-off, preferred the Bois de Boulogne, parks did not necessarily serve to mitigate the class distinctions encouraged by the city's new landscape, as some might have hoped, although perhaps this was true at the centrally located Tuileries and Luxembourg gardens. Albert Boime may be correct in arguing that the blurry lines and subjects used by the impressionist painters in the wake of the Commune represent an attempt to reappropriate the Paris landscape for the bourgeoisie, “restoring sites where barricades (p.20) once stood … to their pristine urban glory” as “metaphors for the actual rehabilitation of the Third Republic France.”31 For this government, the social divisions embodied in the Paris landscape were both a problem and a solution, and certainly the subject of ongoing controversy.
From 1871 to 1883, the most striking visual reminder of the country's internal divisions was the gutted Palais de Tuileries at the very center of Paris (frontispiece). Suggesting the power of absence as well as presence in the cityscape, these ruins, untouched for twelve years, were fraught with uneasy and powerfully ambivalent symbolism. The site evoked the grandeur of the monarchy, installed there since the sixteenth century, the opulence of the empire, and the locus of executive power since 1800. The Convention was housed there during the Revolution, recalling the courage of the people who in 1789 invaded to remove the king, in 1830 and 1848 attacked again, and, on 23 May 1871, just before the French army's violent suppression of the Communards, torched it in one their last acts of defiance.32 Monarchists, if they could not persuade the government to restore it, were content to let the devastation serve as a warning against “the horrors of revolution.” Republicans would either rebuild it as an art museum or replace it with a public garden.33 Only when the latter came fully into power was the site cleared, allowing for the magnificent new vista from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe (see frontispiece and figs. 2 and 9).
After the 1870 siege of Paris, defeat by Prussia, and civil war under the Commune, French of all political persuasions needed to feel renewed pride in their nation and its culture, whether this pride was rooted in past glories, present accomplishments, or future utopias. In many ways, after the ruins were cleared away and the city rebuilt, the landscape of Paris rose to this challenge, and not just in its urban design and public sculptures. Through various laws controlling the design and height of private buildings, state officials were able to ensure visual harmony in the city and enforce their evolving conceptions of beauty. The decrees of July 1882 played an important role in the blurring of design criteria for public (p.21)
To circulate in Paris is to move through these spaces as in a dance or ritual. Parisians, French provincials, and foreign visitors learn and relearn the city's stories until the urban body they sculpt over time with their movements feels as natural as their own. If French people are sometimes accused of trusting and enjoying appearances too much and of loving order, it may well result from their experience of Paris, where they are subject to this regular inscription of beauty and symbolic order.36
Negotiating Life in the City
Of course, one can ignore the monuments and the weighty symbolism of the city's topography. In Raymond Queneau's Zazie dans le métro (1959), a parody of a modern guided tour of Paris, the taxi driver is never quite sure what he is pointing at. Montmartre's Sacré-Cœur, the Invalides, the Panthéon, or the Gare de Lyon—they all have domes. While the humor may depend on the reader's recognition that the monuments come from different periods and represent different meanings, the point is that one can live without this knowledge. Experience of the modern city can remain wholly private, an occasion to dream.38
If the exquisite and spontaneous banality of the everyday were taken away from Paris, leaving us with only its admirable treasure of monuments, I believe our sensations, our illusions, would lose many vitamins.
(p.24) Contradictions also beset the city, as elsewhere in the nation. How does one negotiate “the insistent mobility of the present and the visible weight of the past”?39 How to comprehend chaotic neighborhoods characterized by irregular streets and heterogeneous architecture bordered by grand, homogeneous boulevards? Below-ground realities and above-ground appearances? The inside and outside of buildings? The expansion of the bourgeoisie brought newer buildings with fewer height differences between the floors, implying a more democratic use of space (previously only the lower floors, intended for the wealthy, had had lofty ceilings). Other distinctions in these buildings, however, remained. While their façades often had expensive stonework, and entry staircases grew increasingly grand, their inner courtyards were built of brick. Service staircases for domestic workers with rooms on the top floor also stayed simple, a metaphor and reflection of class differences.40 Haussmann may have made the city seem more coherent and beautiful—turning it into an aesthetic object—but at the cost of hiding much from public view.
If we take the city as a context for everyday life rather than the symbolic representation of power and elite desires, Paris's grandiose vistas, didactic monuments, and evocative urban juxtapositions become frameworks for something besides submission to what Michel de Certeau has called “regimes of domination and control.”41 Some prefer purchasing sensations along its grands boulevards or the tiny streets of Montmartre. Others focus on the city spectacle as detached observers. Hanging out, or flânerie, as Balzac, Flaubert, and Baudelaire called it in the nineteenth century, can lead to exultation or alienation. Any promenade promises the charm of the unexpected: consider the juxtaposition of scale and materials at the intersection of a Haussmanian boulevard with a medieval alley. Meaningful experiences also begin in the transient moment. For Baudelaire and later Walter Benjamin, the fugitive, contingent impression provided one of the most prominent pleasures of the city. More recently de Certeau has advocated resisting the narratives of the cityscape with self-consciously “denarrativized” walking involving detours in order to avoid the “fixities” of the city.42 Also valuable, I would suggest, is an experience that acknowledges “the tension between the lived and the imposed,” as Christopher Prendergast puts it,43 and seeks to negotiate possible relationships between them, as might an improvisation on a well-known tune.
(p.25) The well-recognized popularity of cafés in Paris should alert us to how Parisians have bridged this tension. Outdoor cafés represent an alternative use of Paris streets, an overlap between private and public activities. In these nonhierarchical spaces—what Fargue called “Everyman's Academy” (lʼAcadémie de Monsieur Tout le Monde)—people of all kinds gather to combat the despair of daily life.44 Cafés have also been one of the few places where Parisians reveal themselves.45 Writers, intellectuals, artists, and anyone with time on their hands have gravitated to them as if to “confessionals.” There, as Fargue put it, “pride falls to our feet and true talent becomes recognizable.”46 People “unravel the glories of the antechamber and salon” and, unlike what they write in newspapers, magazines, and speeches, bare their real opinions.47 Paris's long succession of cafés offers an important respite from the city's power structures and frenzied momentum. They suggest how important informal, spontaneous encounters are to the French in their experience of the city. To the extent that cafés encourage people to explore connections and form bonds, some have served as the “cradles” of clubs and artistic movements, many of them interdisciplinary.
Thinking about the city as something other than a “living library” forces us to acknowledge the ephemeral aspects of city life, the multiple-use spaces, and the movement within movement. Narratives animated by the rhythms of commerce and markets, leisure and entertainment, domesticity and families evolve out of practicalities and personal choices more than political symbolism. Their ebbs and flows also shape the city. Delivering a very different message than that encoded in the city's monuments and urban design, they demand an acceptance of its opacity and unpredictability, the fast circulation of capital and ideas that have kept any stable identity from lasting for very long.
Musical worlds might appear to be structured like the city of Paris, with the elites gravitating toward some venues and the masses to others; and compositions themselves, like certain aspects of the city, may aspire to monumentality, inspire ideals, and use present experience to connect us with the past. However, we should not forget the spontaneous and ephemeral aspects of French musical life, not only in cafés-concerts and cabarets, but also in art music venues. Like a person's experience of the city, musical performance itself is, by its nature, of the moment. Late nineteenth-century French audiences had so many choices—up to six orchestras on Sunday afternoons alone—that they tended to purchase their tickets at the last (p.26) minute. Programming decisions could not be made entirely in advance, for audiences often demanded that works be repeated the next week. Moreover, all classes got involved with art music, joining amateur music societies in unprecedented numbers and sometimes attending the same concerts. All this affected the flux of public taste, not only in Paris, but throughout the nation. Even those with little interest in music might enjoy a transcription of a recent Opéra premiere wafting through the summer air in their favorite public garden, where several days a week military and amateur wind bands performed. While the competition produced variety and choice, it also encouraged organizational turnover. To understand this, we need to meander through newspapers, journals, and family magazines seeking, not just reviews, but also documentation of performances not reviewed. Many contingencies affected what music was composed, performed, and heard, and the country supported small-scale uses of music as well as large-scale productions. What have we missed from our music histories that, like Haussmann's boulevards, have effaced most of this, preferring vistas that prepared a self-fulfilling future?
New Promenades in the Aural Landscapes of Paris
In French musical life, as in the city and the nation, official structures orient and elevate certain perspectives. Preoccupied with increasing literacy in the late nineteenth century, French republicans of all classes expected music to function as a signifying practice, like public sculpture, illustrated magazines, and newspaper supplements. They believed it was legible, although its narratives might be abstract or multivalent. At the same time, they saw comprehending and appreciating the beauty of its form and the harmony of its proportions as a prerequisite to feeling its beneficial effects. Such ideals might reflect elites' ambitions or at least a desire to share something valuable with everyone. Yet music also provided opportunities for (p.27) resistance to dominant ideologies, escape, and shared tastes that mitigated the city's social, political, and economic distinctions. Startling discontinuities and innumerable “cities within the City” alert us to the complexity of musical life in nineteenth-century Paris and, by extension, the rest of the country. Like the Parisian landscape, music could express many different values, behaviors, and actions.49
There is not just one Paris, there are three or four—a worldly Paris, a bourgeois Paris, an intellectual Paris, an ordinary people's Paris—living side by side and hardly ever meeting. If you do not know these small cities within the City, you cannot picture the whole, the powerful and often contradictory life of this gigantic organism. To have a glimpse of musical life in Paris then, you need to take into account the variety of milieus and the never-ending movement of ideas, which always reaches beyond the goal it had seemed to set for itself.
What claimed the right to speak through music, of course, was first and foremost the state, music's major patron. As with its action in urban design, the state created many contexts for music, including institutions, performance venues, and competitions. Third Republic leaders took music seriously. They believed deeply, and for many years, in its power to imbue values. Some considered musicians a kind of elite, a “sacred battalion” of the city's “capacities and glories.”50 For others, musicians were the “breath,” and society was the “instrument” being played. Nothing else acted so powerfully on a crowd and made people's hearts beat as quickly as music, Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts Georges Leygues observed.51 In opera, in particular, the leaders of the Third Republic saw a way to promote certain messages, as well as to assert French cultural superiority in the world.
From today's perspective, the surviving musical monuments of this period are telling. Certain operas, especially by Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Bizet, Gounod, and Thomas, are historical landmarks, not only because of their grand scale, but also because they crystallized and clarified the structure of the musical world around them.52 Yet, as with Paris after Haussmann's transformation of the city, what we are given to experience besides these monuments is the product, not just of natural selection, with strong works surviving over weak ones, but also of a reconfiguration of nineteenth-century realities. “Struggle itself creates the history of the field,” the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu argues.53 Successors have rewritten history and promoted new symbols reflecting their concerns. After Third Republic leaders had cleared space in the collective memory for heroes like Berlioz, twentieth-century critics and historians who espoused different values elevated new ones—the musical trinity of Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré, and later Satie, little known in the nineteenth century.54
(p.28) As a modernist raised on this musical trinity, along with Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Mallarmé, I grew up inspired by their bold artistic visions. The symbolist imagination fascinated me, as did music's power to reveal the dynamism of the mind, correspondences among the arts, and abstractions without expressive signification.55 These provided my teachers with pleasurable escape from the chilling realities of the Cold War and the banal consumerism of 1950s domesticity. As the imagination seemed to be free of gender, race or class, so we thought, these concerns also transported our attention away from the troublesome social conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s. Art for art's sake presented challenges that helped shape how we thought and listened. But as the ideology of progress and the avant-garde itself came increasingly into question, the postmodern world reminded us that culture informs the subjectivity expressed by music, that politics and sociocultural circumstances are part of the creation as well as the reception of all art, and that what we know is often linked to what those in power want us to know.
Today, the image of these trinities representing the Belle Epoque in modern colors has tended to skew our experience of late nineteenth-century France. Debussy with his elitism and arrogant disdain for others, Ravel with his refined detachment, Faure with his generous liberalism, and Satie with his bohemian idiosyncrasies have taught us much about French musical culture. But their careers and reputations did not mature until the twentieth century. What understanding have we lost in rendering invisible and mute so many of their contemporaries, including other well-known musicians of the time, such as Augusta Holmès? Why do we judge those like Vincent dʼIndy by what they later became?56 Is it only our taste for what we already know that deprives us of curiosity? Or has taste evolved such that we have difficulty appreciating music that displays other aspects of French culture, (p.29) including heroism?57 As Romain Rolland noted in his diary of the 1870s and 1880s, “the country lived in the expectation of war.” It seemed “certain, imminent.” Young men felt they were “awaiting the order to leave at any moment.”58 In this context, patriotism was important culturally as well as politically. History since then has been as much a result of disenchantment as enchantment. Should we not look at things as they were before modernist agendas (and certain political motivations) seduced us into amnesia, leading us to forget important elements of the past?
In Composing the Citizen, I turn to history to write it anew. If, admittedly, I come to it from afar, by appreciating not just the well-trodden vistas but also the dark corners of the past, I aim to bring a broader acceptance of what transpired than previously acknowledged and a more historically grounded interpretation of why. French music historians who first promoted the Debussy-Ravel-Fauré trinity, such as Emile Vuillermoz, elevated their heroes through binary oppositions, largely disdaining their training and the contexts from which they emerged. Such writers degraded the competition and emphasized modernists' originality. The state and all that it represented was either left out of their stories, or presented as dull background, unworthy of attention. Anything that concerned “the masses,” from transcriptions to the musicians who performed them, was considered useless in discussing art music. With military metaphors, these scholars and their successors have divided musicians into camps and presented their conflicts as “battles,” but at the expense of nuance and sometimes accuracy. When politics is mentioned, it is for its pernicious influence, whether coming from the Right or the Left.
My goal is not to argue about which composers “won” or to disparage those who “lost,” a product of how we construe the “battle.” Rather, I hope to change the terms of the discourse, shifting it away from what leads too quickly to value judgments. Previous histories of this period, most written in the wake of the world wars, suffer from the prejudices of a generation that needed to turn its back on the Belle Epoque to move beyond it. Most scholarship since then has been in the form of biographies, studies of individual works, genres (mostly opera), and elite institutions, with a few recent exceptions.59
(p.30) Here, I set out a hermeneutics of French republican culture, in all its complexity and contradiction, with music at its center. Focused on the national interests of the country more than the special interests of factions or individuals and seeing social value in musical differences and diversity, I ask what rendered music valuable to French people of all classes and what it contributed to “composing” citizens. Concentrating on productive tensions between the political and the aesthetic, I try to explain, not only the compelling nature of the ideology that embraced the idea of forging citizens, but also how music could be a part of it. Examining the multiple and overlapping identities of musicians, I explore interconnectedness in the musical world, repertoire that reached workers as well as elites, and continuities as well as discontinuities with the French past. Debussy's and Ravel's achievements are all the more remarkable when understood, not as reactions to a lame or corrupt Republic, but as reasoned critical responses to strong and vital forces within it, including those centrally important in the evolution of the French democracy down to the present.
This project began when, in studying aristocrats' involvement in music and their support for innovation in the 1890s, I came to understand the role music played in the conflict over what France's cultural legacy would be. This led me to hear some of their music as sites of memory (lieux de mémoire), like the statues placed at strategic points in Paris—something fixed, as in marble or bronze, but ever mobile in the imagination, an accomplishment of more than beauty.60 To understand what was at stake, I had to go back to the French Revolution. Its symbols—like the liberty tree, the patriotic altar, and music—both expressed political positions and served as the means by which people became aware of their politics. As metaphors, these symbols erased and negated differences, while, as Lynn Hunt has argued, offering the means and ends of power itself. If Hunt, François Furet, and others have convinced us that politics can help fashion a people, then we should take seriously the French revolutionaries' faith in music as a force to help form French citizens.61 The example of the revolutionaries encourages us to enquire into the meaning of all musical activities, not just those supported by the state—the anarchy as well as the accord.
(p.31) The history that interests me begins with republican idealism and what it engendered in French music and society. When the Third Republic collapsed in 1940, some denigrated it as a “cabal” of Protestants, Freemasons, and Jews, and many since then have reduced it to its positivist orientation.62 But why would someone like Rolland write in his diary, “I feel more republican than French; I would sacrifice my country to the Republic, as I'd sacrifice my life to God”?63 And what was so compelling about the Republic that so many French were willing to suffer another political cataclysm in 1870 (after those of 1848 and 1851) even before the Germans besieged Paris and the Communards raised their torches? In many ways, the answer is its utopian character—as Philip Nord puts it, “its imagining of a universal order in which human beings might live in harmony with nature and themselves.”64 This meant achieving, not only political unity, but also political inclusion, that is, extending the rights and duties of citizenship to all classes. When they finally took over government, conservative as well as progressive republicans looked to music, along with the other arts and literature, to help initiate this process.
In Composing the Citizen, I investigate how French citizens thought music could contribute to the formation and health of their democracy, and why they embraced musical progress as emblematic of national progress. I explore the musical education they envisaged, from thinking a child's first intellectual efforts should involve singing to devoting a significant place to music in the Universal Exhibitions. I examine the shifting beliefs and conditions that led to and then mitigated the pervasiveness of republican ideology in French culture. Elites may have tried to dominate the musical world, but among themselves conflict remained. Their stories are compelling, but not necessarily unified or coherent. The history that remains may seem the result of a perspective commonly agreed upon by historians and critics, inviting one to follow it like a Parisian avenue to a predetermined conclusion. As we've seen with the city, however, there is always more to it.
If history is a series of questions and answers (with the question occurring as an individual disruption of an answer that has become common knowledge but before was a response to an earlier collective question),65 those posed by the early (p.32) Third Republic are crucial to understand, in part because this government laid the foundations for public support of the arts in France. Much was at stake in music as well as society when republicans were battling monarchists for control in the 1870s and reforming education, rethinking French traditions, debating colonialist expansion, and promoting eclecticism, competition, and liberalism in the 1880s. And much had to be reconsidered in the 1890s as socialist congresses and anarchists demanded social justice and workers' empowerment, progressistes politicians sought political realignment among conflict-ridden elites, a nationalist Right began to emerge, and the Dreyfus Affair split the population into two groups, separated by irreconcilable ideological differences.
Music and concert life helped people to negotiate the gap between political ideals and political realities, although, as a critic pointed out in 1873, music reviewers were not supposed to faire de la politique in the music press.66 Whether implicitly or explicitly, music could articulate contradictions and suggest ways of accommodating differences. Responding not only to a loss of French pride after the Franco-Prussian War but also to the overwhelming popularity of Offenbach on Paris stages during the Second Empire, musicians in the Third Republic struggled to agree on French values. Their notions of beauty and pleasure raised questions their successors had to confront, as did a new elitism that rejected what had rendered art music accessible to the masses. As various countercultures began to look to music to help ensure the survival of their values, this brought about not merely opportunities for dissent and contestation, but also new frameworks for the unexpected. Modernist attitudes and aesthetics arose in this context.
To understand this, we must return to the “lived” experiences of these times, not just to the musical canon that remains. The history of the latter may articulate important sites of continuity and shared values in the cultural landscape, but often underestimates the precariousness of any music's survival and leaves aside the (p.33) complexity of how works become canonical. Thus, while presenting a macro-history of republicans' hopes and desires and their attempts to institutionalize their ideals, I look at a wide range of musical works, ideas, people, performances, and other “events” (in the historical sense).67 Examining these in the context of large-scale ambitions allows us to recognize what Paul Ricoeur calls the “initiative and capacity for negotiation of historical agents in situations marked by uncertainty.”68 To the extent that these forces worked together, meaning circulated, and not necessarily unilaterally, from composers to audiences. To show this, I attempt to integrate the conceptual apparatus implied by the notion of public utility into the rich details of daily life, balancing clarity and complexity. What results is a diachronics of the musical geography that addresses the contingencies of musical life and the extent to which music took part in the constitution of a social bond and national identity in flux.
My aim, then, is to situate music in and as history. As the historian Michel Faure points out, “The work of an artist, of a genius, does not fall from the sky. Music is an earthly and social thing. It is the vibrant flesh and blood of history. It is also one of history's most effective instruments, because it remains above all suspicion.”69 How music was composed, therefore, interests me less than how it was valued, disseminated, and received. My focus is neither on innovations per se nor on how certain works served as precursors or predecessors to the music of our own time. Rather, I suggest how music may have functioned, or some hoped it would function, within its society for people of all classes. By presenting these works in close relationship to the vagaries of political life, I suggest how music helped support and express two of the most defining characteristics of democracy, that is, uncertainty and mutability (as opposed to totalitarianism or the timeless truths of religion), a society that changes in time.70
Such an approach demands context-specific, intertextual analyses and a concept of music that goes beyond scores and sounds. If some people consider the nineteenth century as responsible for conventions that have limited our understanding of and participation in music—such as, most notably, our focus on the artwork (as unpacked by Lydia Goehr)—here I suggest we rethink these preconceptions. (p.34) Carolyn Abbate has recently suggested, “what counts is not a work … in the abstract, but a material, present event.” I agree that it is in attending performances that audiences most often experience music. As she notes, “music's effects upon performers and listeners can be devastating, physically brutal, mysterious, erotic, moving, boring, pleasing, enervating, or uncomfortable, generally embarrassing, subjective, and resistant to the gnostic.” All true. What interests me, however, is how concert organizers, performers, and audiences participate in the production of musical meaning, not just its “reception.” This becomes clear in examining specific performances, “musicology's perpetually absent objects.” At particular times and places, surrounded by other music chosen for the occasion, listeners negotiate music's potential for meaning, and ground it, if only momentarily, but in ways that can later be recalled and built upon. As such, concerts have the capacity to help listeners both engage with music's “ineffability” and make relationships with it. Those I here examine suggest that concert experiences in fin de siècle France elicited responses far more sophisticated and contemporaneously relevant than the “drastic state … unintellectual and common” that Abbate associates with music in live performance. Moreover, they offer important clues to the fluctuations of public as well as private values.71 I thus argue that we take seriously concert programming as one of the determinative categories influencing musical meaning.
If, as this implies, we take performance to be a fundamental aspect of not only of musical analysis, but also history, we need also to expand the range of performances we study. French audiences continued to look to opera and opera singers to confer distinction on their consumption, in part because of opera's traditional association with elites. But, as with the city, a fuller apprehension of the musical world comes in looking beyond elites, their genres, their institutions, and the histories their agendas have dominated. Thus, while other scholars have mostly focused on ensembles that played for the privileged few, I include popular orchestras, amateur choruses, and military bands, many of them also respected for their public utility, even if market-driven. Republicans agreed that all citizens should be able to experience the musical expressions and symbols of the nation, as well as have opportunities to make art music. This encouraged everyone to participate in supply as well as demand. When working-class girls sang alongside Opéra singers, such as in concerts at the Bon Marche department store, music helped mediate class (p.35) and cultural differences—another important republican ideal. The musical tastes and practices of the middle and especially lower classes may have been largely ignored, hidden, forgotten over time, and eventually erased from public memory, like the winding streets of old Paris. Perhaps they've been simply judged too ordinary, like the outer arrondissements of eastern Paris. Yet history itself, as Thomas Carlyle once put it, is made up less of what is preserved than of what is lost.72 To understand what remains, we need to understand what was swept away, as in the city transformed by Haussmann.
In decentering my history by giving voice to a broader range of cultural participants, I reflect on a historical precedent to the amateur musical practices studied by sociologists today.73 This leads me to reconsider our concepts of center and periphery, professional and amateur, public and private, the tastes and musical practices of les élites and les classes populaires. In late nineteenth-century France, not only the elites were interested in serious art music; elite and popular domains were not necessarily distinct. In examining performances of diverse performance organizations, we learn that, as in the city, boundaries were fluid. To the extent that musicians and similar repertoire migrated from venue to venue, the musical culture did not reiterate the constraints of class or individual performance organizations. Links between les classes populaires and eminent composers, popular anticipation of official taste, and popular performances of art music point to something other than an entirely unidirectional movement of influence. This forces us to reconsider “trickle-down” theories of cultural hegemony.74
When we take the public nature of musical taste seriously, other conclusions too can be drawn. First, despite what scholars may have found elsewhere, the struggle over what would become popular in France after 1871 did not principally concern the emergence of a canon of Western musical classics as we conceive it today (even if, as Joël-Marie Fauquet and Antoine Hennion have pointed out, love of J. S. Bach, especially among the upper classes, eventually became synonymous with love of music).75 Second, composers from the past did not dominate concert life in late (p.36) nineteenth-century Paris. Widespread access to art music supported and perhaps even fueled a renaissance in French contemporary music. French audiences were strikingly tolerant of the unfamiliar, even drawn to it, including new art music. This was not restricted to members of elites who may have sought an association with the new to bolster their own distinction. State-funded organizations, such as the Opéra, became increasingly identified as museums; they were not trendsetters. Elsewhere, curiosity, fashion, and national pride brought numerous new works to public attention, whether they were masterpieces or not. In the 1890s, military bands and zoo concerts performed more music by living French composers than did the Conservatory orchestra. Market competition rather than monopoly helped fuel the evolution of taste in France, especially in orchestral music.
With classes and ideologies in flux, the emergence of a complex body of citizens multiplied the possibilities for musical engagement and musical meaning. Just as Parisians could take diverse promenades in the urban geography, there were many ways of listening and relating to music besides the “absorbed silence” which James Johnson assumes took over concert halls after 1840.76 Each consisted of a sensual, aesthetic experience that could evoke a personal, temporal, social, and/or political response, thereby involving associations among various realms of memory. As society became increasingly complex, music's capacity for meaning expanded. Those who embraced the cult of beauty for its own sake arrested this ballooning potential by arguing for the contemplation and admiration of pure form. Music became a religion, based on faith in the creator. Many looked to music to “forget my misery, to flee who I am in order to find who I want to be,” as Camille Mauclair put it.77 To the extent that modernist efforts situated music as difficult and distant, however, they rendered it ungraspable, almost unknowable. No wonder that, increasingly over the next century, audiences turned away from such music: avant-garde innovations were antithetical to the democratization of music. In seeking to understand what attracted so many people to art music before their uses of it were dominated by mass media and disdained by modernists, I hope to encourage reconsideration of what modernists both sought and sacrificed.
Such conclusions come from studying more than the typical primary sources. Thanks to the phenomenon of collecting among the bourgeoisie and the beginning of modern archives from 1870 to 1900, we can examine a rich array of informative documents. Print journalism sheds invaluable light on both the reception and the (p.37) growing taste for art music, especially its critical reviews. Here, I've also looked in too often ignored sections of the press, les nouvelles and foreign news (about French and other music) reported from abroad, for clues as to what forces, internal and external to music, national and international, may have affected public perception of music. To understand what prepares audiences for premieres of major new works, what keeps this music in their ears, and how reception of a work can change over time, I've examined transcriptions, excerpts, and various contexts in which major works could be heard. Family music magazines, sheet music reproduced in newspapers, military band transcriptions, concert programs, and the statutes of amateur music societies have helped me flesh out the texture of musical life, one of the most important kinds of context.
That French individuals as well as libraries collected such ephemera suggests that they took their content seriously. They clearly wanted to preserve the traces of activities as well as works. These collections reveal what Pierre Nora calls “the everyday life of the past” (le quotidien du passé) through a kind of unmediated parole, or speech. They record “the slow passing of days and the flavor of things” in the musical world.78 Even though we cannot converse with the people who used these documents, they encourage us to ask questions about a broad range of musical activities and the meanings associated with music. Such debris from the past, as in a Rauschenberg still life, has enabled me to construct a horizon of expectations about music and musical life in the Third Republic. Intense scrutiny of minute particulars has engendered the resistance I need to feel that my stories are not just in the language I have invented. Such resistance has kept me focused on what indeed did exist.79 In this way, I have sought to imagine a world through a complex interplay between knowing and not knowing. Numerous illustrations will allow readers to test their own hypotheses and come to their own conclusions. I hope this level of detail will help readers bridge a sense of distance and estrangement and use the speech of these documents to become conversant in the language of the times.
In some ways, this preoccupation with texture and variety and the desire to (p.38) interest readers in questioning assumptions and entertaining surprises are driven by empathy with what in landscape painting is called the picturesque. Whereas the charm of Paris for Fargue lies in its “blending of such dissimilar neighborhoods,”80 the charm of its musical world for me comes from its unpredictable juxtapositions of ideologies, aesthetics, practices, and purposes. I believe we can learn much from meandering as well as dwelling in this world, negotiating our own relationship to the “lived” of past performances as well as the “imposed” of printed scores.
While I do not wish to underestimate the power of works themselves, the great contributions made by dedicated, talented individuals, and the collective force deriving from big ideas like democracy and republicanism, I hope this book will help readers understand the collaborative, collective nature of what was produced, negotiated, and shared. Even the great works, the monuments, never stand on their own, autonomous and self-contained. Musical meaning, as suggested above and in my walking tour, depends on how works and performances relate to the landscape—other works and the spaces in which people experience them. At concerts and elsewhere, a “sense of interconnectedness” characterized these times, giving rise to a certain kind of sociability.81 As Vanessa Schwartz observes, experience of the city made its inhabitants who they were: “In, and thus as, the audience, they became ‘Parisians,’”82 and, one might add, French. Alliances, too, were integral to a society struggling with conflicting ideologies and in a musical world permeated by constant power struggles. So were amateur groups whose difference offering resistance to a too-easy grasp of the whole often confirms the extent of the city's interconnectedness. When Foucault refers to discourse as a network of texts, documents, practices, disciplines, and institutions that together produce forms of knowledge, he could well be referring to how society produced art music at the end of the nineteenth century. For me, the pleasure of reading and writing comes from holding many diverse elements in one's mind at once and from watching connections emerge, people and places return, and concurrent stories unfold, as in Georges Perec's novel Life: A User's Manual.83 These micro-stories and intertwined chapters may not complete the puzzle, as in the novel, but hopefully, they give us a better idea of how such worlds operate.
In writing this book, I've grown increasingly aware of my own perspectives (p.39) as a woman, historian, and foreigner. The forgotten as well as the memorable interest me, the silent as well as the voiced.84 Like the historian Pierre Nora, I've constructed stories about the little-known as well as deconstructed assumptions about the well-known.85 My purpose has not been to elevate the former or diminish the latter, but to show how each contributes meaningfully to the musical world. Being a detective who follows multiple clues and who is willing to consider material that others have discarded as trivial has led me to reconsider the subject of music histories, the questions we ask as well as the answers we seek. Rather than pursuing specific answers to specific questions, I've approached this research non-teleologically, particularly when working in archives, moving through “question spaces” and from one kind of material to the next, as if in the Parisian landscape. The answer spaces so discovered inevitably pose new questions that spin out more work in a chainlike, multifaceted manner.86 I try to compensate for being foreign to France by not prejudging the material and by letting it determine my priorities. Often, failures in the use of music to influence people tell us more than successes. If understanding Paris and the art produced in France requires an appreciation of people's aspirations, this is something to which outsiders can perhaps contribute. Like a tourist in the city, the foreign critic may have an advantage. Being alert to differences in another culture may lead to questions and observations that would not occur to those “for whom the city is the background of daily life.” It encourages examining what others have “unquestionably accepted” and bringing these “into the openness of the question” for creative dialogue.87
(p.40) Working in various Paris institutions since the 1970s,88 each dependent on the aims and desires of a succession of ministers and state-funded administrators, has encouraged me to take seriously the contingent and often political nature of music-making in France. In seeking to understand music culture in broad, inclusive ways, I have crossed numerous disciplinary and methodological boundaries, beginning with those separating classical and popular music, historical musicology and ethnomusicology, and have borrowed ideas from architecture, art history, philosophy, and the social sciences, particularly history, anthropology, ethnology, sociology, political science, economics, gender studies, and cultural theory. I've been influenced by those who understand truth as a product of a system of signs and music, like any language, as a “play of signifiers.” In Claude Lévi-Strauss's words, “knowledge can be objective and subjective at the same time,” and “history is never history, but history-for.” Adorno's notion that music, as a dialectical discourse, both reveals and conceals its relationship to language and society has influenced me less than Foucault's insight that “truth is linked in a circular relation with systems of power.” Still, as in my promenades through the city, it is the truths of many perspectives that I wish to understand. I'm not troubled if these truths present a partial image of reality, clash, and contradict one another, or appear mutually exclusive. If Romain Rolland was right, “the principle of change,” especially with regard to taste, “lies within the Parisian spirit itself.”89
Following an organic geometry like that of Paris, Composing the Citizen progresses like a spiral, building continuously on the themes introduced in the walking tour. It examines their origins in the Enlightenment and the Revolution and their manifestations in the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s; it proceeds outward from the historical context of French music to its creation, performance, and reception. I've tried to address the basic needs of the musical world to have its musicians trained, its music heard, and its traditions continued, although the history sketched, the works chosen, and the groups analyzed may be, at best, only representative of the (p.41) terrain explored. Soft focus has its benefits in allowing one to see from the center to the peripheries, and its limits in the depth of knowledge one can derive from any one point.90 For the intellectually open and eternally curious, this approach to archival research, interrogation of the past, and writing has certain rewards. With it, I invite the reader into the process of making syntheses and reaching conclusions, because, by its nature, there is no final answer, no clear end. As in the city, the point is to experience, contemplate, and enjoy as much as possible.
The Legacy of the Third Republic
Since 1900, French officials have seen it as their mandate to protect the republican heritage. The demise of usefulness as a criterion of social good has not deterred them, nor have the fashion for innovation and individuality or the destruction of two world wars. This has meant respecting past achievements as well as present (p.42) needs, beauty and utility.91 In 1905, a Committee for the Protection of Monumental Perspectives persuaded the government to forbid any alterations along the rue de Rivoli. Beginning in 1909, another committee called for classifying certain streets, squares, and private buildings as historical monuments because of their beauty.92 Since 2000, the Commission du vieux Paris has overseen any changes in city buildings. When renovating a building, architects are often forced to leave the old façade intact even as they demolish everything else—a striking difference from city redevelopment in many other cities.
If the Paris landscape has become “a marvelous museum,” it also echoes French hopes of the present and the future. Because French leaders understand the power of symbolic spaces, they have not allowed the needs of modernization to obliterate the signifying capacity of urban design. The city continues to reinvent its spaces in symbolic ways, drawing renewed attention to its own legibility. Attention has focused less on new government buildings than on new spaces for subsidized cultural organizations. In the 1970s, the government built a center for avant-garde art, the Centre Pompidou (fig. 11), across from the ruins of the old Les Halles market in the Beaubourg area of the fourth arrondissement. Architecturally, the building presents an inverted notion of how space is usually organized, with the pipes and paraphernalia normally hiding behind a building's façade exposed to allow for moveable walls and adaptable spaces within. As in a spiral, the flagrantly new thus arises on the foundations of the old, a major theme in French thinking since the turn of the twentieth century. In housing the Musée national dʼart moderne, together with numerous exhibition spaces, it was built to stimulate commerce of another sort, the international market for art, with Paris as its center.93 Adjoining (p.43)
Distressed by the elitist connotations of this modernity, the socialists who came to power in the 1980s moved major institutions and sited new ones to reflect other values. They aimed to shift attention away from old hierarchies encoded in the landscape and to offer alternatives to centuries of elitist thinking. Like Haussmann, François Mitterrand, with his own taste for monuments, concentrated his grand travaux in working-class arrondissements in the lesser-developed eastern part of the city. The Ministry of Finance, formerly in the Louvre, was transferred (p.45)
In 1990, the Conservatory too moved across town to a working-class neighborhood. Whereas in the nineteenth century, it was near theaters in the ninth arrondissement and after 1911 not far from the Opéra in the eighth arrondissement, the Conservatory is now part of the Parc de la Villette in the northeast on the site of the old slaughterhouse. Like the Opéra-Bastille, the Cité de la musique, conceived in 1979 and finished in 1995, makes no reference to the past. Fragmented and almost puzzlelike, its architecture presents “the antithesis of the classical (p.47)
Nothing represents the continuing legacy of the Third Republic more than the annual Fête de la musique. Inaugurated on 21 June 1982 by Minister of Culture (p.48) Jack Lang, Director of Music Maurice Fleuret, and Christian Dupavillon, the festival was conceived to celebrate music and to address problems faced by all democracies: the need for inclusion and broad participation, tolerance for diversity and change, fraternity and community.100 Each year on the summer solstice, music-making takes place in every arrondissement in the city, mostly by nonprofessionals. Beginning around noon, concerts animate train stations, open markets, banks, courtyards, museums, cultural centers, bookstores, cafe terraces, public gardens, race-courses, and dead-end streets. At night, it takes over major intersections. In front of such sites as the Assemblée nationale and at the Place de la République, huge crowds have gathered to hear pop stars, such as the late James Brown, Oasis, and Lenny Kravitz, recalling revolutionary fetes and the mass demonstrations of the late 1960s. Nearby at Les Invalides, in 2002, for example, the Garde républicaine performed film music from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Mission Impossible, joined by 300 children from the working class, largely immigrant twentieth arrondissement. They followed this with Berlioz's orchestration of the “Marseillaise,” Beethoven's “Hymn to Joy,” and Méhul's “Le Chant du départ.” While most concerts express present-day tastes, some, such as this one, hark back to what one might have heard during the Third Republic.
The music at the Fête can be just about anything—classical, jazz, rock, rap, pop-underground, rai, funk, hip-hop, blues, reggae, gospel, traditional, folk, variety, world, or some combination; acoustic, electronic, or techno; performed by adults, teenagers, or children; involving soloists, small bands, school groups, Conservatory students, choruses, quartets, or orchestras. But the chief pleasure of such a plethora of music—there are now up to one thousand events annually in Paris alone—does not derive from ideology or nostalgia, but from participation. Inviting “the musical practices of everyone without any hierarchy of genres,” including mixed genres—the most prevalent category in recent years, organizers have hoped that musical practices could help people enact new identities and “revitalize a society in crisis by helping to alleviate the identity crisis of victims of the new global economy.”101 Despite ongoing political divisions in the populace and sociocultural changes resulting from the influx of immigrants in recent (p.49) years, music thus continues to serve as a significant means of bringing people together to appreciate what they share in the city. For a few hours, boundaries dissolve between professionals and amateurs, public and private spaces, serious and popular genres, as well as between les élites and les classes populaires, rich and poor, citizen and foreigner, native-born and immigrant. In traversing the city to hear these concerts, people are invited to expand the sphere of their lives, to circulate and get to know their city, and one another, better. Such a festival brings people face to face with the reality, not of struggle or control, division or unity, but rather of tolerance for diversity, openness to the unfamiliar, inclusion and broad participation, coexistence, and, ideally, fraternity. Through music, the three conceptual trinities—the revolutionary liberty-equality-fraternity, the republican people-nation-culture, and the contemporary identity-memory-heritage—inflect the present with experience and meaning.102 Minister of Culture Christine Albanel declared in June 2007:
I see in [the Fête de la musique] a school of citizenship, of liberty, of intelligence, an indispensable path toward a shared culture…. More than ever, through practicing as well as listening to it, music represents for our citizens a genuine engagement with and opening to others … a language that unites cultures, countries, and people.103
(1.) See, e.g., Galignani's New Paris Guide (New York: Putnam, 1874); Karl Baedeker, Paris und Umgebungen nebst den Eisenbahn-Routen (Leipzig: Baedeker, 1876) and Paris and Environs (Leipzig: Baedeker, 1884–1900); Augustus J. C. Hare, Walks in Paris (New York: Routledge, 1888); Ward and Lock's Pictorial Guide to Paris (New York: Ward & Lock, 1889); John Stoddard's Lectures, vol. 5 (Boston: Balch Brothers, 1898); Georges Cain, Promenades dans Paris (Paris: Flammarion, 1906); and Elizabeth Williams, Sojourning, Shopping, and Studying in Paris (Chicago: A. C. McClurg, 1907). French promenades à Paris, such as Edouard Drumont's Mon vieux Paris (Paris: Flammarion, 1879), were also popular. When it comes to musical institutions from the past, see J. G. Prodʼhomme and Theodore Baker, “A Musical Map of Paris,” Musical Quarterly 18, 4 (October 1932): 608–27. My walking tour was conceived when Stanley Sadie commissioned me to write the entry on “Paris, 1870–the Present” for the second edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. For other recent approaches to this subject, see Maurice Agulhon, “Paris: La Traversée dʼest en ouest,” in Les Lieux de mémoire, III: Les France, vol. 3: De lʼarchive à lʼemblème, ed. Pierre Nora (Paris: Gallimard, 1992), 868–909; Jacques Réda, Les Ruines de Paris (Paris: Gallimard, 1977); and Nigel Simeone, “Four Musical Walks,” in Paris: A Musical Gazetteer (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000), 4–8.
(2.) César Daly, LʼArchitecture privée au dix-neuvième siècle, vol. 1 (Paris: Ducher, 1870), 11–12, cited in Donald Olsen, The City as a Work of Art: London, Paris, Vienna (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1986), 291.
(3.) The architectural historian François Loyer notes that by the late nineteenth century, apartment buildings rivaled monuments. As construction became increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, this was encouraged by the large insurance companies and financial institutions, which built large blocks of apartment houses. See Loyer, Paris Nineteenth Century: Architecture and Urbanism, trans. Charles Lynn Clark (New York: Abbeville Press, 1988), 296, 357.
(4.) In France, a committee was created in 1837 to oversee historical monuments—Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was in charge of this in mid-century—and in 1887 the preservation of the country's historical monuments was made legally mandatory. For American attitudes toward the past, see David Lowenthal, The Past Is a Foreign Country (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 105–24.
(5.) In the nineteenth century, architecture “could not only convey information, represent the social and political structure, and express the aspirations of owner and occupier, but serve as an ethical agent, a moral statement to the world at large…. Paris thought of itself as the school of civilized humanity. As such it was necessary that it look the part,” Olsen observes in City as a Work of Art (292). Nelson Goodman describes four ways that buildings can have meaning (denotation, exemplification, metaphorical expression, and mediated reference) in “How Buildings Mean,” in id. and Catherine Elgin, Reconceptions in Philosophy (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988), 33–44. See also Lawrence Vale, Architecture, Power, and National Identity (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992), 4–10, and James S. Duncan, The City as Text: The Politics of Landscape Interpretation in the Kandyan Kingdom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
(6.) In The Resistance to Theory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986), Paul de Man discusses the concept of the “horizon of expectation,” derived from Husserl's phenomenology of perception and used by Jauss, to explain the nature of historical consciousness. As in perception, conscious attention—especially to works of art—“is only possible upon a background, or horizon, of distraction.” The term also implies a “passage from the individual to the collective or social aspects” of what is being analyzed (58–60).
(7.) In 1989, President François Mitterrand asserted that if France was only the world's third military power and fourth or fifth economic power, it was nevertheless still “without equal” as a cultural force. See Le Monde, 20 May 1989, cited in Robert Gildea, The Past in French History (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994), 112.
(8.) Léon-Paul Fargue, Refuges (Paris: Emile-Paul frères, 1942), 250. Fargue, a poet and member of les Apaches, was one of Maurice Ravel's closest friends. Refuges is a collection of memoir‑essays, in which he recalls “running in the middle of this living library” (22). With his book Le Piéton de Paris (Paris: Gallimard, 1932), Fargue became known as “the pedestrian of Paris.”
(9.) In his Postmodern Geographies (London: Verso, 1989), Edward Soja describes Los Angeles using Jorge Luis Borges's The Aleph (1949), “the only place on earth where all places are—seen from every angle, each standing clear, without confusion or blending” (222). In The Condition of Postmodernity (London: Blackwell, 1989), David Harvey begins with a discussion of Jonathan Raban's Soft City (1974), a portrayal of London as the “soft city of illusion, myth, aspiration, nightmare” where “fact and imagination simply have to fuse” (5). See also Jann Pasler, “Postmodernism, Narrativity, and the Art of Memory,” in id., Writing through Music: Essays on Music, Culture, and Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 72–73.
(10.) For a more extended discussion of the relationship between Paris and the provinces, see Alain Corbin, “Paris-Province,” and Maurice Agulhon, “Le Centre et la périphérie,” in Les Lieux de mémoire, III: Les France, vol. 1: Conflits et partages, ed. Pierra Nora (Paris: Gallimard, 1992), 776–849. In choosing to focus on Paris at the beginning of a book on French music, I do not wish to deny the importance of musical life in the rest of country, with the diverse and heterogeneous languages spoken there. As Katharine Ellis has pointed out in Interpreting the Musical Past (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), xxi, the regions were not always “docile in their acceptance of models from the capital” and the capital was not necessarily “ahead” of them. For example, French operas were sometimes premiered outside Paris. Yet, the major musical institutions, performers, composers, and government officials with power to influence the nation's musical life were based in Paris and, as the first issue of La Révolution française (1881) put it, since the Revolution Paris had been the “central municipality and the common patrie of all French” (21). Understanding the capital gives the reader a window on the ideals and the values that operated throughout the country.
(11.) Georges Perec discusses the nature of jigsaw puzzles in the preamble to his novel La Vie: Mode dʼemploi (Paris: Hachette, 1978), 15.
(12.) These “belts” do not include fortifications built on the Ile de la Cité by the Romans soldiers to protect Lutèce. In chapter 3 of his Etudes sur les transformations de Paris (Paris: LʼEquerre, 1982), reprinting texts from 1903–10, Eugène Hénard points out that whereas London grew without the constraints of a physical barrier, continually assimilating towns and villages around it, the walls of Paris imposed strict limits, resulting in almost double the number of people in the city center per hectare in the early twentieth century as compared with London.
(13.) Hénard, Etudes, 211.
(14.) Christophe Prochasson, Paris 1900: Essai dʼhistoire culturelle (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1999), 27, 40. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, in her Paris as Revolution: Writing the Nineteenth-Century City (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), notes, “one reads the structured space of the city as one reads the structured language of a book” (38). She suggests that many nineteenth-century writers, such as Balzac, Hugo, Flaubert, and Zola, assumed that the city was “readable” and wrote “within the conviction of legibility” (7). See also Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), chap. 8.
(15.) See the discussion of this spiral notion of progress in Jann Pasler, “France: Conflicting Notions of Progress,” in Man and Music: The Late Romantic Era, vol. 5, ed. Jim Samson (London: Macmillan, 1991), 389–416.
(16.) Historians describe this series of boulevards as a “perpetual fair.” For two centuries it has been the center of Parisian night life. Bernard Marchand, Paris: Histoire dʼune ville (Paris: Seuil, 1993), 45.
(17.) Fargue, Refuges, 248–49, and George Riat, Paris (Paris, 1904), cited in Olsen, City as Work of Art, 145–46.
(18.) Before Napoléon III and Haussmann, Napoléon I and others had already envisaged the need for large avenues in Paris. In his Projet dʼun systèms de grandes votes de communication, et des emplacements les plus favorablespour des monuments dʼart et dʼutilité publique qui sont à édifier ou à reconstruire, Hippolyte Meynadier argued in 1843 that these avenues would serve three purposes: cleanliness in the old neighborhoods, beautification of the city, and opening “great monumental paths to give an aspect of grandeur and majesty.” Cited in Marchand, Paris, 56.
(19.) See Prochasson, Paris 1900, 19–23.
(20.) Léon-Paul Fargue, Méandres (Paris: Milieu du monde, 1946), 9.
(21.) One could also see this arch as initiating the grand entry into Paris, leading through the Champs-Elysées to the Tuileries, Napoléon's residence and the seat of government. See Mark Girouard, Cities and People: A Social and Architectural History (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1985), 178–79.
(22.) The U.S. embassy is adjacent to this square.
(23.) John L. Stoddard's Lectures, 5: 14.
(24.) In “After 1850 at the Paris Opéra: Institutions and Repertory,” in The Cambridge Companion to Opera, ed. David Charlton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), Steven Huebner suggests that this avenue was originally conceived to connect the Palais Garnier with the Tuileries Palace (303).
(25.) These three theaters were not always at these sites—the Comédie-Française began on the Left Bank and the opera houses occupied several sites, often because of fires. However, except during rebuilding after fires, for the most part they remained in the same neighborhood throughout the nineteenth century. Their relationship to the country's cultural ministries has been one of the most important in Parisian cultural life.
(26.) See Pierre Lavedan, “Amis et ennemis dʼHaussmann: Emprunts et expropriations,” in Louis Réau et al., LʼŒuvre du Baron Haussmann, préfet de la Seine (1853–1870) (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1954), 37–52.
(27.) Marchand, Paris, 91–92.
(28.) Heavy industry was not pushed outside the city limits until 1900, and Les Halles not until the 1970s.
(29.) Such neighborhoods are described in Rodolphe Trouilleux, Paris secret et insolite (Paris: Parigramme, 1996). Those interested can still find the apartments and studios of nineteenth-century workers in the eleventh and twelfth districts, a mirror manufacturer functioning since 1886, a washhouse cited by Victor Hugo, and numerous alleys and courtyards offering “a little trip back in time,” even if inhabited today, not by provincials, as years ago, but by immigrants from North Africa or Asia.
(30.) Alphand, who had been chief engineer of pleasure grounds and plantations since 1854, was appointed director of works for the city of Paris in May 1871. In his Contemporary France, 1873–75, vol. 2 (1905; New York: Books for Libraries, 1971), Gabriel Hanotaux interprets his appointment as indicating “a desire to preserve for the town its noble proportions, its graceful shady avenues, and the beauty of its ornaments” (629). As Christopher Prendergast points out in Paris and the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1992), “the building of the Buttes-Chaumont [in the nineteenth arrondissement] obliterated not only the former cesspools of the Montfauçon but also the site of a notorious gibbet, while the refurbishing of the Parc Monceau [in the ninth arrondissement] during the Third Republic made use of the debris of the Hôtel de Ville, demolished during the Commune, for the flower-beds” (167).
(31.) Albert Boime, Art and the French Commune (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995), 45.
(32.) Ironically, just before the attack, the Commune government sponsored four concerts within the Tuileries palace, “infused with nationalist spirit and anti-monarchical propaganda.” One critic saw the palace thus “purified by the presence of the people.” See Jess Tyre, “Music in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune,” Journal of Musicology 22, 2 (2005): 189–92.
(33.) For more extended discussion, see Kirk Varnedoe, “The Tuileries Museum and the Uses of Art History in the Early Third Republic,” in Saloni, gallerie, musei e loro influenza sullo sviluppo dellʼarte dei secoli 19. e 20., ed. Francis Haskell (Bologna: CLUEB, 1981), 63–68.
(34.) “Décret portant règlement sur les saillies permises dans la ville de Paris (XII, B. DCCXIII, n. 12, 151), titres I, IV,” as reproduced in Marilu Cantelli, LʼIllusion monumentale: Paris, 1872–1936 (Liège: Mardaga, 1991), 83, 85. In her discussion of changing official policy on architectural design in Paris, Cantelli shows how architects adapted to private settings the notion of monumentality, previously associated with the state and state power, thereby helping officials to undo the uniformity forced on the city under the Second Empire by Haussmann. See also n. 3 above and Loyer, Paris Architecture and Urbanism.
(35.) Louis Bonnier, “Rapport sur les travaux de la sous-commission administrative,” 3 February 1897, as cited in Cantelli, Illusion monumentale, 54, n. 51.
(36.) From the seventeenth century on, this inscription was also explicit in the urban planning and building of other city centers in France (i.e., Versailles, the old Le Havre, and the central plazas of Nancy, Reims, Charleville, etc.)
(37.) Fargue, Refuges, 22.
(38.) Ferguson, Paris as Revolution, 228–29.
(40.) Marchand, Paris, 88–89, 94.
(41.) Michel de Certeau, “Walking in the City,” in id., The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven F. Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 91–110.
(42.) Discussed in Prendergast, Paris and the Nineteenth Century, 209–11.
(44.) Fargue, Refuges, 102, 104.
(45.) Léon Daudet, Salons et journaux (Paris: Nouvelle Librairie nationale, 1917), 296.
(46.) Fargue, Refuges, 96–97.
(47.) Daudet, Salons et journaux, 297.
(48.) Romain Rolland, “Le Renouveau: Esquisse du mouvement musical à Paris depuis 1870” (1904), in id., Musiciens dʼaujourdʼhui (Paris: Hachette, 1921), 211.
(49.) Sharon Zukin, Landscapes of Power (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 16–18.
(50.) “La Vie et les castes musicales,” Revue de gazette musicale, 6 October 1872, 314.
(51.) Georges Leygues, Discours prononcé par le Ministre de lʼInstruction publique et des beauxarts: Séance publique annuelle 4 août 1894 (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1894).
(52.) On the nature of monuments, see Loyer, Paris Architecture and Urbanism, 292.
(53.) Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, ed. Randal Johnson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 106.
(54.) Emile Vuillermoz—an admirer of Debussy, a student of Fauré's, and friend of Ravel's—argued for the primacy of these composers as early as 1935 in the collective volume, Initiation à la musique (1935). He baptized them explicitly as the new trinity of French music in his own Histoire de la musique (1949), still available today in a 1973 Livre de Poche. I address what happened to music history of this period during the 1930s in Jann Pasler, “Bleu-horizon and Beyond: The Politics of LʼInitiation à la Musique (1935)” (paper first presented at the conference “Nation, Myth, and Reality in the 1930s,” Royal Holloway, University of London, 24 October 1998).
In her contribution to a round table on “Romanticism and the Historical Consciousness” at the International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music (Royal Holloway, University of London, 30 June 2000), Katherine Kolb argued similarly that “historical consciousness depends in part on the vocabulary available to it” and “is a matter not only of awareness, but also of erasures.”
(55.) These interests culminated in my MA Thesis, “Paul Valéry and His Concept of Harmony” (University of Chicago, 1974).
(56.) For a new perspective on Vincent dʼIndy, see Jann Pasler, “Deconstructing dʼIndy, or the Problem of a Composer's Reputation,” 19th Century Music 30, 3 (Spring 2007): 230–56, and in id., Writing through Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).
(57.) Romain Rolland describes Debussy's music as expressing one aspect of the French genius, the other being “heroic action, drunken reason, laughter, the passion of light, and … in music, the France of Berlioz and Bizet…. It's this double ideal, the alternatives of delicate sunlight and light fog that make the soft, luminous, and veiled sky of the Ile-de-France” (“Pelléas et Mélisande de Claude Debussy,” in Rolland, Musiciens dʼaujourdʼhui, 206).
(58.) Romain Rolland, Mémoires et fragments du journal (Paris: Albin Michel, 1956), 63 (entry for 15 January 1888).
(59.) See n. 90 below and especially Steven Huebner's study of Wagner's influence on French composers; Jane Fulcher's interpretation of music and politics before and after this period; James Ross's Crisis and Transformation: French Opera, Politics, and the Press, 1897–1903 (PhD diss., University of Oxford, 1998); and Didier Francfort, Le Chant des nations: Musiques et cultures en Europe, 1870–1914 (Paris: Hachette, 2004).
(60.) Les Lieux de mémoire, edited by Pierre Nora, is the title of a seven-volume collection of essays in three parts, La République (1984), La Nation (1986), and Les France (1992).
(61.) Lynn Hunt, Politics, Culture, and Class (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 88.
(62.) Philip Nord, The Republican Moment (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995), 191, 245.
(63.) Rolland, Mémoires, 68. This excerpt comes from a diary notation made the night after the opening of the 1889 Universal Exhibition.
(64.) Nord, Republican Moment, 191.
(65.) In his Truth and Method, trans. Garrett Barden and John Cumming (New York: Seabury Press, 1975), Hans-Georg Gadamer writes, “A person who seeks to understand must question what lies behind what is said. He must understand it as an answer to a question…. We shall understand historical events only if we reconstruct the question to which the historical actions of the persons concerned were the answer” (333–34). See also Jauss, as explained by de Man in The Resistance to Theory: “As the answer metamorphoses into a question, it becomes like an individual, tree, or portrait set within a stylized landscape and it reveals, by the same token, a live background behind its background, in the form of a question from which it now can itself stand out” (59).
(66.) “Il ne nous est pas permis de faire de la politique dans les colonnes de ce journal et nous ne le regrettons pas. Il y a 45 journaux politiques à Paris sans compter les revues, qui nous consoleraient de cette défense, si elle pouvait nous affecter,” M. de Thémines observed in “LʼArt et le luxe,” Art musical, 16 October 1873. Nevertheless, politics did occasionally seep into reviews, especially at moments of political crisis and, in any case, formed part of the context in which music was heard. It seemed as if the monarchy might be restored that fall, and Thémines asked, “Sous quelle forme de gouvernement le développement de lʼart peut-il être le plus favorisé?” (329–30).
(67.) My use of the word event here is influenced by Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 245–46. Events take on meaning from the narrative in which they are recounted.
(69.) Michel Faure, “Le Néoclassicisme musical en France entre les deux armistices de Rethondes,” in 20ème Siècle: Images de la musique française, ed. Jean-Pierre Derrien (Paris: SACEM, 1986), 39.
(70.) Claude Lefort, Essais sur le politique, XIXe–XXe siècles (Paris: Seuil, 1986), 25, 29.
(71.) Lydia Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (Oxford: Clarendon, 1992); Carolyn Abbate, “Music—Drastic or Gnostic?” Critical Inquiry 30, 3 (Spring 2004): 506, 513–14, 521, 534. See also Francoise Escal and François Nicolas, eds., Le Concert: Enjeux, fonctions, modalités (Paris: Harmattan, 2000); and Jane Fulcher, “The Concert as Political Propaganda in France and the Control of ‘Performative Context,’” Musical Quarterly 82, 1 (Spring 1998): 41–57.
(72.) Carlyle, “On History” (1830), cited in Aleida Assman, “Texts, Traces, Trash: The Changing Media of Cultural Memory,” Repercussions 56 (1996): 131.
(73.) See, e.g., Tia DeNora, Music in Everyday Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Antoine Hennion, La Passion musicale (Paris: Metaille, 1993), and Hennion et al., eds. Figures de lʼamateur (Paris: Documentation française, 2000).
(74.) Georg Simmel, “Fashion,” International Quarterly 10 (1904): 130–55. In his analysis of the fashion world, Simmel saw the process of “subordinate social groups” seeking new status claims by imitating the tastes of “superordinate groups” as unidirectional.
(75.) Joël-Marie Fauquet and Antoine Hennion, La Grandeur de Bach: LʼAmour de la musique en France au XIXe siècle (Paris: Fayard, 2000). Here I am referring in part to William Weber's work on canon-formation in Germany and England.
(76.) James Johnson, Listening in Paris: A Cultural History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 280, 284.
(77.) Camille Mauclair, La Religion de la musique (1909; Paris: Fischbacher, 1928), 41.
(78.) Pierra Nora, “Entre mémoire et histoire,” in Lieux de mémoire, ed. id., I: xxxiii. This absence of people to interview has its own advantages. One is not subject to distortions of memory or perspectives reflecting realities postdating this period.
(79.) I use the word “resistance” here as in the foreword by Wlad Godzich to de Man's The Resistance to Theory. It is the property of something that allows us “to know it to be outside of ourselves and not illusions fostered upon us by our unreliable sensory apparatus. Resistance is a property of the referent, we would say today, which allows this referent to become the object of knowledge of the subject that we are. Without this resistance, we would never be able to ascertain whether the phenomenal or the sensible is really ‘out there’ and thus whether we have any knowledge of such an ‘out there’” (xiii).
(80.) Fargue, Refuges, 110.
(81.) Olsen mentions this as part of the historical orientation of nineteenth-century Europeans (City as a Work of Art, 297–98).
(82.) Vanessa Schwartz, Spectacular Realities: Early Mass Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Paris (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 44.
(83.) Perec, La Vie: Mode dʼemploi.
(84.) “To think like a woman in a man's world means thinking critically, refusing to accept the givens, making connections between facts and ideas which men have left unconnected…. And it means that most difficult thing of all: listening and watching in art and literature … for the silences, the absences, the nameless, the unspoken, the encoded.” Adrienne Rich, “Taking Women Students Seriously,” cited in Elizabeth Flynn, “Composing as a Woman,” in Gender in the Classroom, ed. Susan Gabriel and Isaiah Smithson (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), 112.
(85.) Pierre Nora, “Présentation,” in Lieux de mémoire, ed. id., III, 3: 14; id., “Entre mémoire et histoire,” xxiv.
(86.) For more on these concepts in my historical writing, see Jann Pasler, “Boretzian Discourse and History,” Perspectives of New Music (Summer 2005/Winter 2006): 177–91, and the introduction to id., Writing through Music, 8–11.
(87.) In his Speech Genres and Other Late Essays (1986), cited in Richard Taruskin, Defining Russia Musically (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997), Mikhail Bakhtin explains what outsiders can contribute to cultures: “In the realm of culture, outsideness is a most powerful factor in understanding. It is only in the eyes of another culture that foreign culture reveals itself fully and profoundly…. A meaning only reveals its depths once it has encountered and come into contact with another, foreign meaning; they engage in a kind of dialogue…. We raise new questions for a foreign culture, ones that it did not raise itself; we seek answers to our own questions in it; and the foreign culture responds to us by revealing to us its new aspects and new semantic depths. Without one's own questions, one cannot creatively understand anything other or foreign…. Such a dialogic encounter of two cultures does not result in merging or mixing. Each retains its own unity and open totality, but they are mutually enriched” (xxiii). See also Gadamer, Truth and Method, 2nd ed. (1965), cited in Taruskin, xxv.
(88.) As a doctoral student in the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), 1976–78; a chercheur associé at the Centre nationale de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) helping Hugues Dufourt to set up its first research center in music, the Centre dʼinformation et de documentation, “Recherche musicale,” 1983–84; a visiting professor in the doctoral program “Musique et musicologie du XXe siècle,” a joint project of the CNRS, EHESS, and IRCAM, 1989–91; as well as in other doctoral programs and research groups in Paris and the French provinces, 1992–present.
(89.) Rolland, “Renouveau,” 212.
(90.) To complement the larger picture offered in this book, consult recent in-depth studies of individual musical institutions such as the Palais Garnier (Frédérique Patureau, Le Palais Garnier dans la société parisienne, 1875–1914 [Liège: Mardaga, 1991]); the Société nationale (Michel Duchesneau, LʼAvant-garde musicale à Paris de 1871 à 1939 [Liège: Mardaga, 1997], and Michael Strasser, “Ars Gallica: The Société nationale de musique and Its Role in French Musical Life, 1871–1891” [PhD diss., University of Illinois, 1998]); and the Société des concerts (D. Kern Holoman, The Société des concerts du Conservatoire, 1828–1967 [Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004]). See also biographies of individual composers such as Hervé Lacombe, Georges Bizet (Paris: Fayard, 2000); François Lesure, Claude Debussy (Paris: Klincksieck, 1992); Manuela Schwartz, ed., Vincent dʼIndy et son temps (Liège: Mardaga, 2006); Jean-Michel Nectoux, Gabriel Fauré: Les Voix du clair-obscur (Paris: Flammarion, 1990); Carlo Caballero, Fauré and French Musical Aesthetics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Joël-Marie Fauquet, César Franck (Paris: Fayard, 1999); Delmar Irvine, Massenet: A Chronicle of His Life and Times (Portland, Ore.: Amadeus, 1994); Jean-Claude Yon, Jacques Offenbach (Paris: Gallimard, 2000); Jean Gallois, Camille Saint-Saëns (Liège: Mardaga, 2004); Steven Whiting, Satie the Bohemian: From Cabaret to Concert Hall (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); Elisabeth Rogeboz-Malfroy, Ambroise Thomas ou La Tentation du lyrique (Besançon: Cêtre, 1994); and the biography of Saint-Saëns that Yves Gérard is preparing. New research on this period will also be found in the second edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell, and in the Dictionnaire de la musique au XIXe siècle, edited by Joël-Marie Fauquet. Close analyses of individual genres will be helpful, such as Hervé Lacombe, Les Voies de lʼopéra français au XIXe siècle (Paris: Fayard, 1997), trans. Edward Schneider as The Keys to French Opera in the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); Steven Huebner, French Opera at the Fin de Siècle: Wagner, Nationalism, and Style (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); Lawrence Archbold and William Peterson, eds., French Organ Music from the Revolution to Franck and Widor (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 1995); and Rollin Smith, Saint-Saëns and the Organ (Stuyvesant, N.Y.: Pendragon, 1992). For other perspectives on music and politics during this period, see Michel Faure, Musique et société du Second Empire aux années vingt (Paris: Flammarion, 1985); Marie-Claude Genet-Delacroix, Art et Etat sous la IIIe République (Paris: La Sorbonne, 1992); André Michael Spies, Opera, State, and Society in the Third Republic (New York: Peter Lang, 1998); Jane Fulcher, French Cultural Politics and Music: From the Dreyfus Affair to the First World War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); Katharine Ellis, Interpreting the Musical Past (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); and Annegret Fauser, Musical Encounters at the 1889 Paris World's Fair (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2005). To understand better predecessors of the institutions I discuss and analogues elsewhere in Europe in the nineteenth century, the volumes sponsored by the European Science Foundation will be useful, especially Michael Fend and Michel Noiray, eds., Musical Education in Europe, 1770–1914, 2 vols. (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2005), and Hans Erich Bödeker and Patrice Veit, eds., Les Sociétés de musique en Europe, 1700–1920: Structures, pratiques musicales, sociabilités (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2007). Comparison with the French provinces will allow the reader to ascertain the extent to which Parisian musical life was “the motor of music life” in the country. See esp. Marie-Claire Le Moigne—Mussat, Musique et société à Rennes aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles (Geneva: Minkoff, 1988).
(91.) See discussion of Eugene Hénard in Prochasson, Paris 1900, 40–41.
(92.) Cantelli, Illusion monumentale, 67.
(93.) See Section C.F.D.T. [a workers' union], “Beaubourg, vue de lʼintérieur,” in Beaubourg et le musée de demain, LʼArc 63: 35. This article was written by the Centre Pompidou employees concerned about the “collusion between cultural milieux and the powers of money.” According to Bernard Pingaud, the Left was also deeply troubled by the elitist nature of the Centre Pompidou. In his article in LʼArc 63, “Un Choix culturel,” he compares it to Versailles, a monument created to “make France into the most important center in the world for artistic creation.” He concludes, “Like all institutions of capitalism,” this one is “not made for the people,” even if it can occasionally serve them (22, 25).
(94.) For a penetrating analysis of the role of Boulez in the ongoing funding of IRCAM, the Ensemble InterContemporain, and the Cité de la musique, see Kim Eling, The Politics of Cultural Policy in France (London: Macmillan, 1999), chaps. 1, 3, and 4.
(95.) Vale discusses the impact of Sprechelsen's Grande Arche in his Architecture, Power, and National Identity, 20.
(96.) The Palais Garnier is now used mostly for ballets and early music.
(97.) Francis Rambert, “A Pluralistic Architecture,” in Cité de la musique (Paris: Société française de promotion artistique, 1996), 13. By this, he means that the architecture “cannot be taken in at a single glance. Its successive planes, frames, and sequences, which play on the opposing dimensions of the grandiose and the intimate” create “a dynamic through geometry…. There is no sense of being enclosed…. Its wealth lies in its poetic fragmentation: it might almost be described as fractal architecture. The West City is an intricate game; the East City is a puzzle” (13–15).
(98.) In 1981, when Jack Lang became minister of culture and declared, “Everyone can make their choice: academic art or popular art, contemporary art or traditional art,” the government officially recognized popular music in its funding. In 1989, the first ministerial chargé de mission for rock and variétés took office. See Eling, Politics of Cultural Policy in France, chap. 7.
(99.) In 1995, Jacques Chirac, mayor of Paris and president (1995–2007), commissioned the Musée du Quai Branly for national collections of African, Asian, and Oceanic indigenous art. Its proximity to his middle- and upper-class constituents in the seventh and sixteenth arrondissements was perhaps meant to encourage them to broaden their horizons through contact with these cultures. Reception has been mixed.
(100.) The festival also recognizes the increasing practice of music in the country by amateurs—8 percent in the early 1990s, as opposed to 5 percent in 1973. Direction de la musique et de la danse, La Musique et la danse: La Politique culturelle, 1981–1991 (Paris: Ministère de la culture, de la communication, et des grands travaux, 1991), 15. Beginning in 1984, several other cities participated in this festival; by 1991, there were sixty-two countries holding simultaneous Fêtes de la musique, and by 2007 over 250 countries.
(101.) “25 Années de Fête de la musique: Un Bref historique,” in 25e Fête de la musique: Dossier depresse (Paris: Fnac, 2006), 3, 8.
(102.) Evelyne Ritaine, Les Stratégies de la culture (Paris: Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, 1983), 13: “Dans le savoir politique français, la triade Peuple-Nation-Culture est centrale: la culture y est le fondement de la nation, lʼinstruction du peuple lʼinstrument majeur de la démocratie.” Pierre Nora, “LʼEre de la communication,” in Lieux de mémoire, ed. id., III, 3: 1010: “Identité, mémoire, patrimoine; les trois mots clés de la conscience contemporaine, les trois faces du nouveau continent Culture. Trois mots voisins, fortement connotés, chargés de sens multiples qui sʼappellent et sʼappuient les uns les autres”; see also Mona Ozouf, “Liberté, égalité, fraternité,” in ibid., 583–89.
(103.) Christine Albanel, “Editorial du ministre de la culture et de la communication, porte-parole du gouvernement,” in Dossiers de presse: Fête de la musique, 21 juin 2007 (14 June 2007), 1.