Philosophy, Theology and the Reading of Texts

  • Vincent Brümmer

Abstract

The French composer, Hector Berlioz, reacted as follows to the critics of his opera La Damnation de Faust: ‘I have already recounted how I … wrote the march on the Hungarian theme of Rákóczy in the course of one night. The passionate reception that this march received in Pest made me decide to include it in my Faust, and in doing so I took the liberty to use Hungary as the setting for the opening of the action, and had my hero, deep in reflection, see a Hungarian army passing across the plain. A German critic considered it most remarkable that I should portray Faust in such a manner. I do not see why I should not have done that, and I would, without hesitation, have let him travel to any place whatsoever if it had been to the benefit of the music I was writing. I had not set myself the task of blindly following Goethe's framework, and a character like Faust can be portrayed as making the most outlandish journeys without doing harm in anyway to the credibility of his person. When other German critics … attacked me even more strongly for the departures that my libretto made from the text and the structure of Goethe's Faust, … I wondered why these critics had not reproached me in any way for the libretto of my symphony, Roméo et Juliette, which only shows a slight resemblance to Shakespeare's immortal tragedy! Obviously because Shakespeare was not a German.

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Published
2021-07-26
How to Cite
Brümmer, V. (2021). Philosophy, Theology and the Reading of Texts. Religious Studies: An International Journal, 9(1), 125-140. Retrieved from https://fssh-journal.org/index.php/jrs/article/view/153