Page 1 of 6 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 87
Like Tree79Likes

Thread: Hector Berlioz

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    8,964
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Hector Berlioz

    Born in 1803 near Lyon, France, at the age of 18 he went to Paris originally to study medicine, but eventually abandoned this to pursue a career in music. In 1826 he began attending the Conservatoire and produced a number of compositions which were not performed. In the late 1827 he saw the actress Harriet Smithson in Shakespeare's Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. He became infatuated with her and she later became his wife. Also in the late 1820's, he attended concerts of Beethoven's music and read Goethe. All of these things were to prove to be important influences in his artistic development.

    In 1830 he wrote his most famous piece, the Symphonie Fantastique, the seminal piece of the Romantic period, a masterpiece of orchestration and drama. It was subtitled 'Episodes in the life of an artist' and was about his love affair with Smithson.

    After winning the Prix de Rome, he travelled to Italy.

    After returning to France in 1834, he composed the piece for viola and orchestra called Harold in Italy, which was inspired by Byon. Paganini had commissioned the work, but although he apparently liked it he never played it as it is not a conventional concerto.

    His operas Benvenuto Cellini, La Damnation de Faust and Les Troyens were not successful in France, but were better received abroad. Berlioz also worked as a guest conductor, and he toured in England, Germany and Russia. To earn extra income, he also contributed to musical criticism, and championed the works of other Romantic composers like Liszt and Schumann.

    He was made an Officier de la Légion d'honneur in 1864 and died in Paris in 1869.

    To sum up, he was one of the great Romantics, successfully integrating the literary ideas of the times into his works. He also revolutionised the use of the orchestra, influencing composers like Wagner and Berlioz's friend Liszt. His use of the idee fixe in numerous works was a precursor to the use by Wagner of the leitmotif. Ironically, he was not a great pianist, and was only competent at the guitar and flute. His music continued to be largely neglected until the 1950's and 60's, when conductors like Rafael Kubelik, Charles Munch and Sir Colin Davis began including it on their concert programs.

    Today, we are fortunate to have many fine recordings of his works widely available. The large forces which some of his stage works require still prohibit regular performance, but his orchestral works have become a firm part of the regular repertoire.

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Nonesuch Address
    Posts
    836

    Default

    There's already a post about Berlioz, so maybe you should check that one out.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,100

    Default

    I re-listened to Harold in Italy, and it came up fresh.
    Si vos agnosco is tunc vos es quoque erudio

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,242

    Default

    Let's not forget his treatise "The art of orchestration and instrumentation"
    PetrB likes this.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    8,964
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bach View Post
    I re-listened to Harold in Italy, and it came up fresh.
    I'm interested to hear more about your impressions of it, Bach...

    Some critics say that Harold surpasses his Symphonie Fantastique. I suppose it's difficult to compare them, as they work on many different levels. But one thing that's common is the idee fixe, a central repeated theme/idea that binds the works together...

    I also think that it's quite revolutionary in Harold, how the main character - represented by the viola - dies early on in the last movement. He leaves & the orchestra just keeps on playing. I don't think any other composer had done this type of thing before, it's pretty unique & revolutionary.

  6. #6
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Georgia, United States
    Posts
    3,636

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    I'm interested to hear more about your impressions of it, Bach...

    Some critics say that Harold surpasses his Symphonie Fantastique. I suppose it's difficult to compare them, as they work on many different levels. But one thing that's common is the idee fixe, a central repeated theme/idea that binds the works together...

    I also think that it's quite revolutionary in Harold, how the main character - represented by the viola - dies early on in the last movement. He leaves & the orchestra just keeps on playing. I don't think any other composer had done this type of thing before, it's pretty unique & revolutionary.
    Well that's Berlioz for ya, Andre. He was unique and revolutionary. Nobody composed music like him and nobody has since. Truly a one-of-a-kind composer.

    "Harold in Italy" is a great piece that he actually wrote for Paganini. I read somewhere that Paganini hated that first movement, but he played it anyway.

    It's a great piece, but most everything Berlioz wrote was great.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    8,964
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mirror Image View Post
    Well that's Berlioz for ya, Andre. He was unique and revolutionary. Nobody composed music like him and nobody has since. Truly a one-of-a-kind composer.

    "Harold in Italy" is a great piece that he actually wrote for Paganini. I read somewhere that Paganini hated that first movement, but he played it anyway...
    Let us not also forget that he was so innovative that he single-handedly created the genre of the song-cycle in France, with his superb Les Nuits d'ete. This opened the way for later generations of composers, especially Duparc & Ravel.

    As my article says above, Paganini actually liked Harold & paid Berlioz for the commission, but he felt that it would not show off his technique enough, and so never played it.

  8. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Georgia, United States
    Posts
    3,636

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Let us not also forget that he was so innovative that he single-handedly created the genre of the song-cycle in France, with his superb Les Nuits d'ete. This opened the way for later generations of composers, especially Duparc & Ravel.

    As my article says above, Paganini actually liked Harold & paid Berlioz for the commission, but he felt that it would not show off his technique enough, and so never played it.
    Well Berlioz was innovative in everything he did. He was unlike any other composer. Brilliant composer. One of my absolute favorites.

    That's interesting about "Harold in Italy." I guess what I meant to say is that Paganini liked "Harold..." but he saw how the first movement wasn't going to show off his talent.

    Berlioz wasn't a prolific instrumentalist, so his best compositions are orchestral and choral works. "Harold..." maybe called a "concerto" in some respects, but it's much more than that it's actually more of a rhapsody than anything I think.

  9. #9
    Andante
    Guest

    Default

    Symphonie fantastique, is a work that I just can not get into, and I have tried on numerous occasions to no avail.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kg4fxg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia (Now) Ch
    Posts
    223

    Default Roman Carnaval Op. 9

    Well,

    Been enjoying Roman Carnaval recently. I'll have to see what else I am missing that might be considered in the basic repertoire.

    Harold in Italy, Op. 16: I. Adagio - Allegro Me non troppo (Harold in the Mountains)
    Harold in Italy, Op. 16: II. Allegretto (Procession of Pilgrims)
    Harold in Italy, Op. 16: III. Allegro assai - Allegretto (Serenade)
    Harold in Italy, Op. 16: IV. Allegro Frenetico (Orgy of the Brigands)
    Rêverie Et Caprice, Op. 8: Adagio
    Rêverie Et Caprice, Op. 8: Allegro Vivace
    Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: I. Rêveries - Passions
    Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: II. Un Bal
    Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: III. Scène Aux Champs
    Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: IV. Marche Au Supplice
    Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: V. Songe d'une Nuit Du Sabbat
    La Mort de Cléopâtre: Scène Lyrique
    La Mort de Cléopâtre: Méditation
    Berlioz: La Mort D'Ophélie
    Zaide
    Berlioz: Waverly Overture
    Rob Roy, "Intrata Di Rob-Roy Macgregor"
    King Lear, Op. 4
    Roman Carnaval, Op. 9
    Beatrice and Benedict: Overture
    Le Corsaire, Op. 21
    No, it's a Bb. It looks wrong and it sounds wrong, but it's right - Vaughan Williams.

    Bill Carter, CPA

  11. #11
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    8,964
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    La Damnation de Faust is also great...

  12. #12
    Senior Member kg4fxg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia (Now) Ch
    Posts
    223

    Default La Damnation de Faust is also great...

    Andre

    Thanks! I pour over books and sometimes miss some pieces. Always, always looking for something I don't have in my collection - I'll have to listen to some samples of it and scour the shops for a good CD.
    No, it's a Bb. It looks wrong and it sounds wrong, but it's right - Vaughan Williams.

    Bill Carter, CPA

  13. #13
    Banned (Temporarily)
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    4,434

    Default

    There is a caricature of Berlioz conducting the orchestra with brasses behind his back, basses on right (left of the picture) and shooting canon below, together with shocked audience covering their ears and running away. Any idead what is the title and author or where could I find it? I belive it's XIXth century drawing, but later it was colorized.

  14. #14
    Junior Member Faenval's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    There is a caricature of Berlioz conducting the orchestra with brasses behind his back, basses on right (left of the picture) and shooting canon below, together with shocked audience covering their ears and running away. Any idead what is the title and author or where could I find it? I belive it's XIXth century drawing, but later it was colorized.


    Is that it? From what I can tell, it was drawn by J. J. Grandville in 1846.
    science and Lunasong like this.

  15. #15
    Banned (Temporarily)
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    4,434

    Default

    I saw some other "version" before, but yes, this is it - thanks a lot!

Page 1 of 6 12345 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •