From Biography-Berlioz: The French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz “was born on December 11, 1803, in La Côte-St-André, Isère, France (near Grenoble). Hector Berlioz, as he was known, was entranced with music as a child. He learned to play the flute and guitar, and became a self-taught composer.”
Hector Berlioz [Dec. 11, 1803 – March 8, 1869]
“In 1826, Berlioz enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire. The next year, he saw Harriet Smithson in the role of Ophelia and became captivated by the Irish actress [and many years later he would actually marry her]. His ardor inspired the Symphonie fantastique (1830), a piece that broke new ground in orchestral expression.” His iconic Symphony Fantastique was unusual as it it changed keys with each movement and had 5 different keys. Also, instead of the usual four movements, this symphony had 5 movements in these descriptive terms: 1. Passion, 2. A Ball, 3. Scenes in the Field, 4. March to the Scaffold and 5. Dream of a Witches Sabbath.
Berlioz described his own compositions this way: “The prevailing characteristics of my music are passionate expression, rhythmic animation, and unexpected turns.”
Along with his impressive Symphony Fantastique, were the impressive choral works, “La Damnation de Faust” and his large Requiem, “Grande Messe des Mortes”.
Please turn up the volume and enjoy some Romantic music by the French composer, Hector Berlioz, on his birthday.
Hector Berlioz: La Damnation of Faust, Hungarian March:
Hector Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique:
Hector Berlioz: Requiem, Movement 10, Agnus Dei:
Happy Birthday #218 Hector Berlioz!