chapter  1
16 Pages

Music and the Vichy Regime through Jeune France’s Three Joan-of-Arc Productions (1941)

Only since the 1990s has French musical life during the Second World War become a subject of study for musicologists and historians. They have started to fill a gap in the historiography of that period, during which the German army occupied France and Marshal Philippe Pétain, hero of the First World War, directed an authoritarian regime from the city of Vichy. Among Vichy specialists, disinterest in music was a glaring aspect of La vie culturelle sous Vichy, published in 1990 (Rioux, 1990). Another 11 years would have to pass before the arrival of La vie musicale sous Vichy (Chimènes, 2001), which opened up many areas of research, some of which were explored in the following decade (Simon, 2009). More recently a collective work has taken stock of the studies undertaken in this field, laying the groundwork for new and promising avenues of research (Chimènes and Simon, 2013). One such topic is the use of music for political purposes. As an extension of my previous work on Debussy and Berlioz (Simon, 2006, 2013), this chapter will focus not on a single composer, but rather on the musical rendering of the Joan-of-Arc myth by the arts organisation Jeune France.