Berlioz’s first critical notice of a performance by Ernst

Here is Berlioz’s first critical notice of a performance by Ernst. The composer’s comments about Ernst’s awkward stance, and the accuracy of his intonation (it would later become more unreliable) are striking. The concluding quotation is from Molière, which, as usual, Berlioz doesn’t identify. [Many thanks to Hugh Macdonald for the translation and drawing my attention to this passage].

His playing is incisive and mordant which sometimes gives a very unusual colour to the piece he’s playing. He bows with extreme rapidity, his melodic line is done with soul, and he is rarely out of tune. M. Ernst is unarguably one of the leading violinists of today. We would complain only of his awkward posture. He bends over his instrument like a man performing a deep bow, or like a short-sighted person forced to go close up to read the music. In this regard I know he can cite the example of Paganini, whose posture can be quite grotesque:

Mais lorsque sur quelqu’un l’on prétend se régler,
C’est par les beau côtés qu’il lui faut ressembler.

Le Renovateur of 5 January 1835

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