Modern German Music    (Two Volumes)    (Henry F. Chorley)
Item# B1732
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Modern German Music    (Two Volumes)    (Henry F. Chorley)
B1732. HENRY F. CHORLEY. Modern German Music, in two volumes. London, Smith Elder & Co., 1854. 789pp.


“Henry Fothergill Chorley (15 December 1808 – 16 February 1872) was an English literary, art and music critic, writer and editor. He was also an author of novels, drama, poetry and lyrics. Chorley was a prolific and important music and literary critic and music gossip columnist of the mid-nineteenth century and wrote extensively about music in London and in Europe.

Chorley soon took to musical and literary criticism. He began to write for the Athenaeum in 1830 and remained its music and literature critic until 1868. While there, he reviewed approximately 2,500 books and wrote reviews and musical gossip columns discussing composers and performers in Britain and on the European continent. In this position, he had much influence. He had strongly conservative views and was a persistent opponent of innovation, but was a lively chronicler of London life. In 1850 and 1851, Chorley edited the LADIES' COMPANION, which covered fashion and domestic women's issues. In the Athenaeum and elsewhere, Chorley often criticised the music of Schumann and Wagner for what he called ‘decadence’.

Chorley wrote the English libretto for Gounod's FAUST, for its first presentation in London in 1863 (at Her Majesty's Theatre). During rehearsals, it was found that the lines were unsingable. Both Sims Reeves and Charles Santley made strenuous and persistent complaints to Messrs. Chappell's, and new translations were made secretly, since no-one dared to tell Chorley. The first he knew of it was at the first performance. Chorley, as reviewer, waited to make his comment until the final announced performance, of which he wrote that it was ‘seriously imperilled by a singular translation’. Unfortunately for him, the final performance in question had not taken place, so the MUSICAL WORLD was able to compliment him on his poetic imagination. Nevertheless, Chorley's translations of several songs from FAUST were published and widely performed.”

- Olive M. Domina