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Berlioz and France

Montville

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Berlioz in Montville

    Montville is situated to the north-east of Rouen, about 28 miles from Dieppe and 87 miles from Paris; it lies in a valley surrounded by hills. The name of Monville first appears in the 11th century; according to the most ancient documents, the name Montville has from its origins had two different spellings, one with and the other without the letter ‘T’ (Alain Poulin, Montville - son histoire [Mairie de Montville,1988], pp. 15-16). Berlioz is among the Illustrious Persons who are associated with the town (op. cit., pp. 40-41).

    Berlioz spent a few days in Montville in the summer of 1846 after his second visit to Germany, during which while pursuing his concert tour he was working on the composition of La Damnation de Faust. After his return to France he pursued his work in various locations, including in Montville, as he writes in his Mémoires (chapter 54):

Back in France, while spending a few days near Rouen at the country house of M. le baron de Montville, I composed the great trio: Ange adoré dont la céleste image [in Part III of the work].

Statue of Berlioz in Montville

    On 17 October 1886 the statue of Berlioz by Alfred Lenoir was inaugurated at Square Vintimille in Paris (now the Square Berlioz), a monument built thanks to a subscription set up by admirers of the composer in 1884. The original statue is no longer extant, though a copy was set up in the composer’s home town of La Côte Saint-André in 1890 where it can still be seen in the Place Hector Berlioz (see also the page Berlioz Statues).

    The original plaster-cast of the statue by Lenoir happens to have survived, and has been given the designation “Hector Berlioz à son pupitre” — Hector Berlioz at his music stand. It was donated by the sculptors’ children to the City of Paris and exhibited at the théâtre du Châtelet, where numerous performances of music by Berlioz were given before the first World War by the Concerts Colonne. Subsequently the plaster of the statue was stored in the depot of works of art in Paris, until Mlle Marguerite Lenoir, the sculptor’s daughter, authorised its transfer to the commune of Montville, a transfer which was ratified on 23 June 1960 by a decision of the municipal council of Paris. This statue had been restored by M. Lorenzi of Paris. It now graces the hall of Montville Mayoralty (Alain Poulin, Montville - son histoire, p. 40).

    We are most grateful to our friend Michel Raynaud for sending us the following photos.

Photos © Gérard et Michel Raynaud. All rights of reproduction reserved.

Monville Ville Fleurie

 

Berlioz statue 1

 

Berlioz statue 2

 

Berlioz statue 3

The Hector Berlioz Website was created by Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin on 18 July 1997; the page Berlioz and Montville was created on 1st April 2017.

Photos © Gérard et Michel Raynaud. All rights of reproduction reserved.
© (unless otherwise stated) Michel Austin and Monir Tayeb for all the pictures and information on this page.

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