Monday, 23 January 2017


Today’s Quote of the Day comes to us courtesy of the 18th century French writer and music critic known mononymously as Stendhal (born Marie-Henri Beyle) in honor of the 234th anniversary of his birth - observed by both the literary and musical spheres on this 23rd day of January - and is extracted from the iconic author’s exquisitely poetic biography Vie de Rossini (Life of Rossini, published 1824):

“Take any young Italian, whose whole being is preoccupied with some imperious passion: he may, while it is still at fever-heat, reflect upon it for a time in silence; but sooner or later he will start to sing, softly, perhaps some tune by Rossini; and quite unconsciously he will have selected, among all the tunes he knows, the one which seems most aptly to echo his own mood. Then, a little later, instead of singing softly to himself, he will begin to sing out loud; and, still unsuspecting, his singing will begin to answer, in subtle shapes and shadings, the peculiar quality of the passion which is raging in his heart. His soul, as it were, has found an echo, and the echo is itself a consolation; his singing is like a mirror in which he can observe his own reflection; previously, he had been exasperated by the unkindness of fate, and his spirit was filled with anger; but now he can see himself…”

Take a deep breath, and slowly exhale to the gorgeous stylings of Gioachino Rossini: enjoy below the sublime quintetto “Celeste man placata” from the 18th century romantic composer’s opera Mosè in Egitto:

Did You Know?

Although Stendhal’s music-related literary output may not have exactly been superfluous, the writer's early biographies on composer favorites Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and famed 18th century librettist Pietro Metastasio (Vies de Haydn, de Mozart et de Métastase, published in 1814), and his biography on Rossini in particular (Stendhal holds the distinction of being the latter composers’ first biographer) remain a popular source of reference for modern scholars seeking first-hand, contemporary accounts of critical dissection and analysis (including the psycho-analysis) of the leading composers of the author’s era.

Of the favorite composers of the writer mentioned above, Stendhal would appear to harness the lion’s share of his adulation on Rossini: in Vie de Rossini, he introduces the biography thusly:

“Napoleon is dead; but a new conqueror has already shown himself to the world; and from Moscow to Naples, from London to Vienna, from Paris to Calcutta, his name is constantly on every tongue. The fame of this hero knows no bounds save those of civilization itself.” 

Stendhal remained an ardent admirer of music for the remainder of his life; and, in a manner most coincidental, the author would perish by the same illusive hand that claimed the lives of so many 18th century composers (excluding the above mentioned composers - save for speculation surrounding Herr Mozart): complications from the treatment of Syphilis would inevitably lead to the writer succumbing to a fatal seizure whilst walking the streets of Paris on the 23rd of March, 1842.

Read Vie de Rossini in English (translated by Richard N. Coe) for free at



  1. Thanks for finally writing about >"QUOTE OF THE DAY - JANUARY 23, 2017: STENDHAL'S VIE DE ROSSINI (EXTRACT) Feat. Did You Know?"
    <Loved it!

    1. Hello Anonymous,

      Thanks for your kind words - I am pleased you enjoyed this post. There are more to come in this same vein!


  2. Respect to post author, some wonderful information.