Prepared by Diane Cloutier
Founded and edited by François-Joseph Fétis, the Revue musicale continued publication until November 1835 when it was merged with Maurice Schlesinger’s Gazette musicale de Paris. The Revue musicale is distinguished from other contemporary music periodicals because it was written in large part by a single author, Fétis himself. The overall quality of the journal is such that today it is viewed by scholars as a reference work.
Each issue is divided into two parts: the first contains literary and analytical columns, biographical sketches, obituaries, numerous articles, reviews of published music and books, correspondence—which contains the greater part of the journal’s polemical writings—as well as exchanges between commentators external to the Revue’s editorial staff. The second part gives news of Paris, foreign news and announcements. The “Nouvelles de Paris” offers an impressive chronicle of the city’s artistic activity and its immediate surroundings. Accounts of concerts, of theatrical productions and performances of all sorts appear here, as does information of a general nature, for example, the movements of touring artists, legal and administrative affairs of the theaters and the Conservatory, notes on literary and artistic property, and, announcements and programs of upcoming operas and concerts. Of particular interest are writings on the preparation and premières of operas seminal to the grand opera genre: Auber’s La Muette de Portici and Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable. From among the hundreds of announcements and reviews, those dealing with early performances of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, and the concerts of Mendelssohn, Liszt and Chopin merit particular attention. The “Nouvelles étrangères” column bears witness to the editor’s interest in musical performance outside France, and particularly in Germany, the Austrian empire, England and Italy. Here are found reviews of opera premières, concerts, ballets, singers, and touring companies, with information being drawn from foreign periodicals.