Gregoir, Joseph

Antwerpen, 18/01/1817 > Brussel, 28/10/1876

Historische teksten


door F. Corder

[…] 3o. "Faust (after Goethe). Musical poem in two parts for Pianoforte." By Joseph Gregoir.

Of this composer we confess to knowing little beyond his name. Of his works, if they at all resemble his Faust, we certainly desire to know nothing at all. This queer composition or series of compositions, only deserves notice for its ludicrousness, consisting, as it does, of twelve morceaux, which for pretentiousness and utter feebleness it would be hard to surpass. In justice to the composer we must give the table of contents to show what the work is intended to portray.

No. I. Night. (Faust meditates. He is buried in gloomy fancies which overpower him, and he summons the infernal powers to his aid. The sound of bells announces the festival of Easter, which the angels celebrate on high.)
No. 2. Promenaders leaving the town. Peasants dancing and singing.
No. 3. Soldiers' chorus.
No. 4. Vision.
No. 5. Margarets’ song.
No. 6. Ecstasy!
No. 7. " … He loves me!"
No. 8. Love.
No. 9. Dies irae. (The wrath of Heaven falls upon thee; the trumpets sound, the tombs are shaken, and the ashes of thy body, reanimated by flames, tremble with terror.)

Part II.
No. 10. The Sabbath. Introduction and Witches' dance.
No. 11. Dance of Spirits. In the midst of their revel Hell yawns, and the demons drag Faust in to the abyss, disputing over their prey.
No. 12. Apotheosis. 

In Nos. 1, 9, and 11 we cannot discover the least attempt on the part of the composer to carry out his programme, the latter number, for instance, being quite a commonplace galop with quite a conventional ending. It would be too bad to take leave of this work without quoting the editorial preface to the score. Translation would spoil it, so here it is in the original -

"L'œuvre que nous publions aujourd'hui a été exécutée pour la première fois à Anvers le 27 Janvier, 1847. Le poëme de Goethe a tenté grand nombre de musiciens, depuis Spohr jusqu'à Gounod. Avant Gounod, d'autres Compositeurs, Berlioz, Schumann, Liszt, ont fait de la musique sur le même thème. La critique jalouse pourrait accuser un jeune auteur au début de sa carrière de s'être lancé sur les traces d'aussi grands noms. Heureusement pour M. Joseph Gregoir les dates sont là! à l'époque où il produisit son Faust il ne connaissait absolument rien de la musique de ceux qui avant lui avaient écrit sur la donnée épique de Goethe. Comme Berlioz en meme temps que lui; comme Liszt et Schumann; comme Gounod apres lui M. Joseph Gregoir a été séduit par le sujet dramatique de Faust et il s'est abandonné à ses propres inspirations. Sa partition restée inédite, est une des meilleures production de l'école Belge, et c'est à ce titre que nous la livrons aux juges des amis de l'art."

We willingly acquit Monsieur Gregoir of the charge of following in the steps of either Berlioz, Liszt, or Schumann, or any other composer of merit whoever existed, but we are sorry to hear that his work is "one of the best productions of the Belgian school." It is to be hoped the statement is a mere publisher's puff. […]

Corder, F.: The Faust Legend, and Its Musical Treatment by Composers. VI., in: The Musical Times, jrg. 27, nr. 520, 1 juni 1886, p. 324-327.