Music Fueled By Desire Hector Berlioz Symphony Fantastique

Impressions

Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique was so novel and so shocking—for its program and its music—that it immediately caused an uproar, in the press, from other composers, even from Berlioz’s friends. Many, finding the story distasteful, were aghast that a composer would put into music something so explicitly autobiographical. What can these reactions tell us about what Berlioz was trying to do? Was he a typical Romantic artist wearing his heart on his sleeve? Or was he an obsessed, crazy man using music for some diabolical purpose?

“When you see the composer himself, that friendly, quiet, meditative person, calmly and assuredly going his way, never for a moment in doubt of his vocation…yet in complete darkness about himself—it is unspeakably dreadful, and I cannot express how deeply the sight of him depresses me. I have not been able to work for two days.”
—Felix Mendelssohn

Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique was so novel and so shocking—for it’s program and it’s music—that it immediately caused an uproar, in the press, from other composers, even from Berlioz’s friends. Many, finding the story distasteful, were aghast that a composer would put into music something so explicitly autobiographical. What can these reactions tell us about what Berlioz was trying to do? Was he a typical Romantic artist wearing his heart on his sleeve? Or was he an obsessed, crazy man using music for some diabolical purpose?

In his scathing critique of the Third Movement, François Joseph Fétis goes as far as to question the premise of the entire symphony:

“I know that music cannot express what Berlioz has demanded of it … The Scene in the Country is characterized by such obscurity of thought, such unpleasing aimlessness, that it would perhaps be impossible to listen to it all the way through if one’s boredom were not mitigated by some happy orchestral effects.”

Never at a loss for words, Berlioz fired back:

“He (the composer) knows very well that music can take the place of neither word nor picture. He has never had the absurd intention of expressing abstractions or moral qualities, but rather passions and feelings…and when, for example, in the Scene in the Country, he tries to render the rumbling of distant thunder in the midst of a peaceful atmosphere, it is by no means for the puerile pleasure of imitating this majestic sound, but rather to make silence more perceptible, and thus to increase the impression of uneasy sadness and painful isolation that he wants to produce on his audience by the conclusion of this movement.”

Robert Schumann, as usual, took Berlioz’s side:

“What music is this third movement! This intimacy, this remorse, this ardor! The image of Nature’s sigh of relief after a storm is one that has often been adduced, but I can think of none lovelier or more fitting here.

“I know that music cannot express what Berlioz has demanded of it…The Scene in the Country is characterized by such obscurity of thought, such unpleasing aimlessness, that it would perhaps be impossible to listen to it all the way through if one’s boredom were not mitigated by some happy orchestral effects.”


What's Your Impression?

What do you think? Does this movement tell you something new or different about Berlioz’s “passions and feelings” for his heroine?
alikhan_095
January 25, 2015

I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. I truly adored reading your posting. Thank you! hier | diese Seite | Webseite

alikhan_095
January 25, 2015

Very informative post ! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign !Fitness | Sport | Bauchmuskeln

alikhan_095
January 25, 2015

I’m happy I located this blog! From time to time, students want to cognitive the keys of productive literary essays composing. Your first-class knowledge about this good post can become a proper basis for such people. nice one jewelry wholesale

alikhan_095
January 24, 2015

Very informative post ! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign !el metodo gabriel gratis

alikhan_095
January 22, 2015

It has fully emerged to crown Singapore's southern shores and undoubtedly placed her on the global map of residential landmarks. I still scored the more points than I ever have in a season for GS. I think you would be hard pressed to find somebody with the same consistency I have had over the years so I am happy with that.https://rebelmouse.com/reversemytinnitusreviews/

alikhan_095
January 21, 2015

I am a new user of this site so here i saw multiple articles and posts posted by this site,I curious more interest in some of them hope you will give more information on this topics in your next articles. Glad to chat your blog, I seem to be forward to more reliable articles and I think we all wish to thank so many good articles, blog to share with us. motorbikes

alikhan_095
January 20, 2015

Three are usually cheap Ralph Lauren available for sale each and every time you wish to buy. They're produced by the very best degree developers who will be distinguished for your polo dress creating. You'll find polo Ron Lauren inside exclusive array which include particular classes for men, women.vakances

alikhan_095
January 19, 2015

Its as if you had a great grasp on the subject matter, but you forgot to include your readers. Perhaps you should think about this from more than one angle.Localzz

alikhan_095
January 18, 2015

I was just browsing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more.eyaculación precoz

alikhan_095
January 18, 2015

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you! The information that you have provided is very helpful. cvmarket

Post Your Reaction