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Title: Pierre Baillot (1771-1842) : institutions, values and identity
Author: Vandoros, Markella Sofia Alexandra Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 6815
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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On 12 December 1814, an unusual concert took place in Paris, one exclusively featuring chamber works. The audience gathered to listen to string quartets and quintets led by acclaimed violinist Pierre Baillot. The Séances de quatuors et de quintettes de Baillot were thus born and continued to operate until 1840. Parisian musical life was dominated by opera, a genre that the majority of modern historians working on nineteenth-century Paris tend to focus on. However, we discover that, owing to Baillot’s efforts, the public chamber music concert seemed to have a future. The central aim of my thesis is to give chamber music the place that it deserves in music history and to demonstrate that a deeper knowledge of concert culture can enhance our perception of conservatism and canon formation during the first half of the nineteenth century. I discuss the circumstances under which Baillot set up his séances and his ability to educate his audience through his programmes. The result was a genealogy of instrumental music, which represented the early stages of historization. We also look at Baillot’s status as a violinist, prompted by Paganini’s concerts in Paris, through a juxtaposition of the two performers, but also through Baillot’s own compositions. Further, Baillot’s treatises Méthode de violon du Conservatoire (1803) and L’Art du violon (1834) allow us to gain a deeper understanding of his aesthetic values, including the much-discussed beau idéal. The séances were made possible by the strong support network that Baillot had surrounded himself by, consisting of his contemporaries, as well as artists of the next generation. We acknowledge critic François-Joseph Fétis, whose writings in La revue musicale helped advance Baillot’s project, and composer George Onslow – the only French composer to have his works performed chez Baillot – whose nickname ‘le Beethoven français’ stimulates a discussion on French musical identity, or indeed frenchness. In the new generation of musicians, Eugène Sauzay and François Habeneck were both Baillot’s students at the Conservatoire; the former’s mémoires offer invaluable information on concert culture at the time, while the latter’s founding of the Société des concerts du Conservatoire in 1828, which featured Beethoven’s symphonies as the concert centrepiece for several decades running, illustrates how Baillot’s work shaped the future of Parisian instrumental music.
Supervisor: Head, Matthew William ; Parker, Roger Leslie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available