Hector Berlioz
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1803-12-11
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Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz Biography (BBC)

Berlioz: a profoundly original composer and brilliant writer; sensitive, agnostic, humorous, sardonic. During his life, and after his death his detractors outnumbered his admirers. A century later those detractors started to die out and Berlioz is now securely seated in the pantheon of great composers.

The eldest child of a country doctor, Berlioz duly enrolled in the School of Medicine in Paris. His determination to study composition was, however, so intense that he soon got himself accepted as a pupil of Jean-François Le Sueur. A seven-year apprenticeship which produced among other things his first orchestral work, the thrilling Les francs-juges Overture, culminated in 1830 when he won the prestigious Prix de Rome and single-handedly promoted the premiere of his Symphonie fantastique. This electrifying work made him notorious, not least because it included overt autobiography – his adolescent worship of Estelle Duboeuf (he was 12, she 18, when he first saw her) and his passion for Harriet Smithson, the Irish actress he was to marry.

Now began a career veering between heady success and debilitating failure. The decade after 1831 saw three more extraordinary symphonies (Harold in Italy, Romeo and Juliet, Symphonie funèbre et triomphale), the Requiem (the greatest success of his life), the opera Benvenuto Cellini (a failure) and the exquisite song cycle Les nuits d’été. But his music was so unconventional that it inevitably aroused antagonism, as did his journalism; in his secondary career as a music critic, prudence fought losing battles with artistic ideals. The positions to which he was obviously fitted – music director of the Opéra or professor at the Conservatoire – were denied him. For income he relied on his journalism, supplemented, from 1842, by concert tours abroad conducting (mostly) his own music. In Germany, Russia and England he was acclaimed the greatest conductor of his age.

The Revolution of 1848 left him contemptuous of politics, and his music became seemingly more ‘Classical’, notably in The Childhood of Christ (1854), a rare triumph. The splendours of his last great work, The Trojans (1856–8, never performed complete in his lifetime), showed, however, that his music was as modern as it had ever been. His final years were blighted by illness and then by the death of his son Louis. But a little earlier he had visited Estelle and rekindled that poignant relationship with which, if the facts were not more prosaic, one would like to think his life had become complete.

Profile © Ian Kemp

Hector Berlioz Biography (Wikipedia)

Hector Berlioz ( (English:); 11 December 1803 – 8 March 1869) was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works, and conducted several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians. He also composed around 50 songs. His influence was critical for the further development of Romanticism, especially in composers like Richard Wagner, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Liszt, Richard Strauss, and Gustav Mahler.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Hector Berlioz Performances & Interviews


Hector Berlioz Tracks

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Hector Berlioz
Le Carnaval romain - overture (Op.9)
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Le Carnaval romain - overture (Op.9)

Le Carnaval romain - overture (Op.9)

Orchestra
Orchestra di Roma della RAI
Hector Berlioz
Harold in Italy, Op.16 - ii. March of the Pilgrims
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Harold in Italy, Op.16 - ii. March of the Pilgrims
Hector Berlioz
Benvenuto Cellini (Overture)
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Benvenuto Cellini (Overture)
Hector Berlioz
Le spectre de la rose (Les nuits d'été)
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Le spectre de la rose (Les nuits d'été)
Hector Berlioz
Harold en Italie (Serenade)
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Harold en Italie (Serenade)
Hector Berlioz
Le Carnaval Romain - overture (Op.9)
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Le Carnaval Romain - overture (Op.9)
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie Fantastique - 4th mvt - March to the scaffold
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Symphonie Fantastique - 4th mvt - March to the scaffold
Hector Berlioz
Le carnaval romain
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Le carnaval romain
Hector Berlioz
Villanelle (Les nuits d'été)
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Villanelle (Les nuits d'été)
Hector Berlioz
Romeo et Juliette - symphonie dramatique Op.17 for soloists, chorus and orchestr
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Romeo et Juliette - symphonie dramatique Op.17 for soloists, chorus and orchestr
Carl Maria von Weber
Invitation to the Dance, Op 65
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Invitation to the Dance, Op 65
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie fantastique (2nd mvt, 'A Ball')
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Symphonie fantastique (2nd mvt, 'A Ball')
Hector Berlioz
Beatrice et Benedict: Overture
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Beatrice et Benedict: Overture
Hector Berlioz
Le Carnaval romain - overture (Op.9)
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Le Carnaval romain - overture (Op.9)
Hector Berlioz
La Mort de Cleopatre
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La Mort de Cleopatre
Hector Berlioz
L' Enfance du Christ: L' Adieu des bergers
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L' Enfance du Christ: L' Adieu des bergers
Hector Berlioz
Roman Carnival Overture op 9
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Roman Carnival Overture op 9

Roman Carnival Overture op 9

Orchestra
Polish Sinfonia luventus Orchestra
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie fantastique Op.14 - V.Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat
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Symphonie fantastique Op.14 - V.Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat
Hector Berlioz
Overture, Les Francs-Juges, Op.3
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Overture, Les Francs-Juges, Op.3
Hector Berlioz
Overture: Le Corsaire, Op.21
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Overture: Le Corsaire, Op.21
Hector Berlioz
Grande messe des morts Op.5 (Sanctus)
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Grande messe des morts Op.5 (Sanctus)
Hector Berlioz
Te Deum, Op 22 (Christe Rex gloriae)
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Te Deum, Op 22 (Christe Rex gloriae)
Hector Berlioz
Les Troyens: Act 1 March
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Les Troyens: Act 1 March
Hector Berlioz
Ballet des Sylphes; Menuet des Follets; Marche hongroise
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Ballet des Sylphes; Menuet des Follets; Marche hongroise
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie funebre et triomphale Op.15 - 3rd mvt: Apotheose
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Symphonie funebre et triomphale Op.15 - 3rd mvt: Apotheose
Hector Berlioz
Overture from Beatrice et Benedict - opera in 2 acts (Op.27)
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Overture from Beatrice et Benedict - opera in 2 acts (Op.27)
Hector Berlioz
Les Nuits d'ete
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Les Nuits d'ete

Les Nuits d'ete

Orchestra
Orchestra of the Swiss Romande
Last played on
Hector Berlioz
Requiem – Dies Irie
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Requiem – Dies Irie
Hector Berlioz
L' Enfance du Christ (Op.25), Pt.2; L' Adieu des bergers
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L' Enfance du Christ (Op.25), Pt.2; L' Adieu des bergers
Carl Maria von Weber
Invitation to the dance - rondo brillant
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Invitation to the dance - rondo brillant
Hector Berlioz
Beatrice et Benedict - opera in 2 acts Op.27 (Overture)
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Beatrice et Benedict - opera in 2 acts Op.27 (Overture)
Hector Berlioz
Benvenuto Cellini "Overture"
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Benvenuto Cellini "Overture"
Hector Berlioz
Les Troyens "Chasse royale et Orage"
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Les Troyens "Chasse royale et Orage"
Hector Berlioz
La Marseillaise
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La Marseillaise
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie Fantastique, op 14
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Symphonie Fantastique, op 14
Hector Berlioz
Le spectre de la rose from Les nuits d’été
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Le spectre de la rose from Les nuits d’été

Le spectre de la rose from Les nuits d’été

Performer
Karen Cargill, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie fantastique (Op.14), 2nd movement; Un Bal (Valse) (Allegro non troppo)
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Symphonie fantastique (Op.14), 2nd movement; Un Bal (Valse) (Allegro non troppo)
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie funebre et triomphale Op.15 - 3rd mvt: Apotheose
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Symphonie funebre et triomphale Op.15 - 3rd mvt: Apotheose
Hector Berlioz
Overture "Le carnaval romain", Op.9
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Overture "Le carnaval romain", Op.9
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie fantastique (Dream of the Night of the Sabbath)
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Symphonie fantastique (Dream of the Night of the Sabbath)
Hector Berlioz
Trio des Ismaelites from L'enfance du Christ
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Trio des Ismaelites from L'enfance du Christ
Hector Berlioz
Romeo Et Juliette - Symphonie Dramatique. Serment et reconciliation
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Romeo Et Juliette - Symphonie Dramatique. Serment et reconciliation
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie Fantastique - Songe d'une nuit de sabbat
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Symphonie Fantastique - Songe d'une nuit de sabbat
Hector Berlioz
L' Enfance Du Christ, Op.25
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L' Enfance Du Christ, Op.25

L' Enfance Du Christ, Op.25

Orchestra
Swedish R S O
Hector Berlioz
Royal Hunt and Storm (Les Troyens)
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Royal Hunt and Storm (Les Troyens)
Hector Berlioz
Romeo and Juliet, Op.17: Capulet's Festival and Love Scene
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Romeo and Juliet, Op.17: Capulet's Festival and Love Scene
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