Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Forget the Germans. It’s the French who made classical music what it is

2014 was the 250th anniversary of one of great French musical adventurers, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Were the celebrations generous enough?

The poor French. When we think of classical music, we always think of the Germans. It’s understandable. Instinctive. Ingrained. But unfair. We forget that most of the heavy lifting — most of the intrepid leaps forward in harmony, colour, rhythm and form — was done by the likes of Berlioz, Debussy and Boulez.

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