As to Rossini and the rage for him which possessed the fashionable Parisian world, it aroused my passionate indignation, all the more because the new school was the antithesis of that of Gluck and Spontini. I could conceive of nothing more grand, sublime, or true than the works of those great composers; and Rossini's melodious cynicism, his contempt for the traditions of dramatic expression, his perpetual repetition of one kind of cadence, his eternal puerile crescendo, and his crashing big drum, exasperated me to such a degree as to blind me to the dazzling qualities of his genius and the real beauties of his masterpiece, the Barbiere, with its delicate instrumentation and no big drum. I used often to speculate on the possibility of undermining the Theatre-Italien, so as to blow it and its Rossini-worshippers into space. And when I met one of those hated dilettanti, I used to mutter to myself as I eyed him with Shylockian glance, "Would that I might impale thee on a red-hot stake, thou scoundrel!" I must confess that time has not tempered the murderous violence of my feelings, or cause me to change the strong views I hold on this subject. Not that I now desire to impale anyone on a red-hot stake, or that I would blow up the Theatre-Italien, even if the mine were laid and the match ready to my hand; I but I echo Ingres' words with all my heart and soul when I hear him speak of some of Rossini's music as "the work of an underbred man."
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Hector Berlioz Supports My Opinion of Rossini
From page 50 of the Dover edition of his Memoirs: