La Grande Guerre des musiciens

TitleLa Grande Guerre des musiciens
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAudoin-Rouzeau, Stéphane, Estebán Buch, Myriam Chimènes, and Georgie Durosoir
Number of Pages248

For the fighters of the Great War, formed in the tradition of military music, the ear was sometimes the organ which reluctantly taught them the technical novelty of conflict: it also allowed them to maintain, under the form of musical activities developed in precarious conditions, a link with their part of humanity. Behind the scenes, the ritual character of musical practice – beginning with the concert – lent a direct political translation to discussions about engagement and patriotism, which also bore witness to the reorganization of musical life and sometimes the creation of institutions as well. Finally, war put composers before a true aesthetic and moral alternative between the culture of “pure music” and the production of a political music which certain people envisioned as a form of combat. Despite this musicological and historiographical interest, the history of music between 1914 and 1918 remains little-known, in France as well as elsewhere. The international team of historians reunited at the end of the 1980s around the Museum of the Great War to try to construct a new cultural history of conflict by centering the analysis about the representations of contemporaries. However, this active historic effort in the domains of the image or the object could not avoid a shortcoming, that of the musical creation.   

For its part, musicology willingly created a veritable portal of World War I, but, excepting certain pioneering works, this general affirmation is rarely supported by an examination of the musical realities themselves. Centered on France without excluding the case of other nations, it is the multiplicity of the manifestations of war in the musical field, and music in the battlefield, that the present volume wishes to help better understand.   

Translated TitleThe Great War of Musicians
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