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Thread: Hector Berlioz

  1. #16
    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    ''Heureusement la salle est solide... elle résiste!'' (in the picture)


    Poor Berlioz... and poor illustrator... what would he have said of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder?
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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    I think of Berlioz as the man who did Mahler before Mahler came along and did Mahler. Just think of his Requiem. Sixteen timpani, ten pairs of cymbals, four tam-tams, not to mention the four offstage brass bands!

  3. #18
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    Monsieur Berlioz wrote very beautiful songs. If you did not hear them yet, do not hesitate do get some:


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    One of the few composers admired by Richard Wagner

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Just getting into Berlioz and I have to say its rare that I am in such awe of a composer. He's surely among the wittiest and most creative composers there ever were, his music has such freedom.

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    Heard the Symphonie Fantastique in it's entirety recently. Absolutely loved it. Where next with Berlioz?

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Heard the Symphonie Fantastique in it's entirety recently. Absolutely loved it. Where next with Berlioz?
    Harold in Italy!

  8. #23
    Andante
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Heard the Symphonie Fantastique in it's entirety recently. Absolutely loved it. Where next with Berlioz?
    This is one work I just can not get on to, I just can't get past the 1st mov

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andante View Post
    This is one work I just can not get on to, I just can't get past the 1st mov
    That's interesting, I don't think of it as a tough nut to crack. What about it do you find difficult? I used to be a little wary of what I perceived to be a looseness of form back when I thought you had to be Mozart to be any good, and it took me a while to assure myself of the quality of Beethoven(that's an exaggeration, but a funny one). I'm genuinely curious, this is not sarcasm, because the first movement is so rich and wonderful to me, but I hadn't always paid attention to it/shied away so I'm wondering what about it makes it not work for you?

    I bet one day it will hit you and you'll wonder what was going on. I had that problem with Brahms for a long time, and Bruckner, and I still have a bit of that problem with Bach.
    Last edited by clavichorder; Aug-19-2011 at 16:53.

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    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andante View Post
    This is one work I just can not get on to, I just can't get past the 1st mov
    I hear ya. I couldn't get into that piece for a while myself. And even still, I find it a bit overrated.

  12. #26
    Senior Member Nix's Avatar
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    A great composer with bad taste. I mean how could he honestly think his Requiem was his finest piece? 1 amazing movement surrounded by an hour of drivel.

    Symphonie Fantastique and Les d'nuits are masterpieces. Only heard Harold in Italy once. Overtures are worth passing over, still have to get to his operas.

  13. #27
    Andante
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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    , because the first movement is so rich and wonderful to me, but I hadn't always paid attention to it/shied away so I'm wondering what about it makes it not work for you?

    I bet one day it will hit you and you'll wonder what was going on. I had that problem with Brahms for a long time, and Bruckner, and I still have a bit of that problem with Bach.
    I have tried for years and years but in the end gave up on it, I can't remember what put me off just got bored about half way through the 1st, I will try again to night and refresh my feeble memory, will let you know

    I couldn’t wait to see if I had mellowed alas I still don’t get it. It is not a work that is difficult to get into, just to me it sounds more like an overture than the start of a symphonic work, a number of ideas are introduced but are not developed ‘at least not that I can tell’ is it the orchestration ??? A lot of the string and wind seem to be in the high register which kind of gets a bit tiering after 6-7 minutes, I guess in the end it boils down to subjectivity sorry not for me.
    Last edited by Andante; Aug-20-2011 at 09:27.

  14. #28
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    Love Damnation of Faust! Such a beautiful work!

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    Senior Member Jeremy Marchant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    La Damnation de Faust is also great...
    Indeed. Someone else has written in this thread that Berlioz invented the song cycle in France when he wrote Les nuits d’été. Surely he invented the film soundtrack with Faust. The fast cutting between scenes makes it impossible to stage convincingly, yet the drama and he pictures cry out for a visual presentation. I love the orchestration, whether in the dance of the sylphs or the way the trombones are used to represent Mephistopheles. In Colin Davis’s Philips recording, they snarl away – what an imagination! And, also in that recording, Jules Bastin is marvellous as Mephistopheles: when he suddenly turns up in Faust’s study his “What pure emotion!” addressed at Faust just oozes contempt.

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  17. #30
    Senior Member jalex's Avatar
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    Just looking at his ideal festival orchestra as outlined in his treatise on instrumentation; this would be something to behold:

    120 Violins divided in two, three, or four parts;
    40 Violas divided optionally into first and seconds, at least ten of which would at times play the viola d’amore;
    45 Cellos, divided into first and seconds;
    18 Double-Basses with 3 strings tuned in fifths (G, D, A);
    4 Octo-Basses;
    15 Double-Basses with 4 strings tuned in fourths (E, A, D, G);
    6 Flutes;
    4 Flutes in E flat, incorrectly known as Flutes in F;
    2 Piccolos;
    2 Piccolos in D flat, incorrectly known as piccolos in E flat;
    6 Oboes;
    6 Cors Anglais;
    5 Saxophones;
    4 Tenoroons;
    12 Bassoons;
    4 Clarinets in E flat;
    8 Clarinets (in C, B flat or A);
    3 Bass Clarinets (in B flat);
    16 Horns (6 of them with valves);
    8 Trumpets;
    6 Cornets;
    4 Alto Trombones;
    6 Tenor Trombones;
    2 Bass Trombones;
    1 Ophicleid in C;
    2 Ophicleids in B flat;
    2 Tubas.
    -----------------
    351

    30 Harps;
    30 Pianos;
    1 very deep Organ, with at least sixteen foot stops;
    8 Pairs of Timpani (10 players);
    6 Drums;
    3 Bass Drums;
    4 Pairs of Cymbals;
    6 Triangles;
    6 Sets of Bells;
    12 Pairs of Antique Cymbals (tuned to different pitches);
    2 Large and very deep Bells;
    2 Gongs;
    4 ‘Jingling Johnnies’;
    ------------------
    467 Instrumental players

    40 Sopranos (children, first and second);
    100 Sopranos (women, first and second);
    100 Tenors (first and second
    120 Basses (first and second
    ------------------
    360 Choristers
    What an imagination that guy had as well, he lists dozens of ideas for novel effects which could be exploited using this monstrous vehicle. The things he could have written if he had decent financial backing...

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