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Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Biography

Rousseau is clearly more noted as a philosopher and writer than as a composer. He had a direct influence, however, on the development of French comic opera and melodrama. Early operas were completely unsuccessful but "intermedie Le devin du Village" in 1752 was quite popular adding to the "comique" flavor. His "Pygmalion" (1770) was a spoken drama with background music very much a part of melodramatic history. Compositions by Rousseau also included over fifty motets, songs and instrumental works including two symphonies. Rousseau also had a profound influence on the development of Romantic music through his writings expressing the enigmatic view, at the time, that music should express feeling as only writing could express thought. ~ Keith Johnson