Hector Berlioz
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/960x540/p01bqfd6.jpg
1803-12-11
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/274774a7-1cde-486a-bc3d-375ec54d552d
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)

Louis-Hector Berlioz (11 December 1803 – 8 March 1869) was a French Romantic composer. His output includes orchestral works such as the Symphonie fantastique and Harold in Italy, choral pieces including the Requiem and L'Enfance du Christ, his three operas Benvenuto Cellini, Les Troyens and Béatrice et Bénédict, and works of hybrid genres such as the "dramatic symphony" Roméo et Juliette and the "dramatic legend" La Damnation de Faust.

The elder son of a provincial doctor, Berlioz was expected to follow his father into medicine, and he attended a Parisian medical college before defying his family by taking up music as a profession. His independence of mind and refusal to follow traditional rules and formulas put him at odds with the conservative musical establishment of Paris. He briefly moderated his style sufficiently to win France's premier music prize, the Prix de Rome, in 1830 but he learned little from the academics of the Paris Conservatoire. Opinion was divided for many years between those who thought him an original genius and those who viewed his music as lacking in form and coherence.

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

Hector Berlioz
Le carnaval romain
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Le carnaval romain

Sort by

Hector Berlioz
Grande Messe des Morts, Op. 5 (Requiem): ix) Sanctus
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Grande Messe des Morts, Op. 5 (Requiem): ix) Sanctus
Hector Berlioz
Grande Messe des Morts, Op. 5 (Requiem): ii) Dies Irae et Tuba mirum
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Grande Messe des Morts, Op. 5 (Requiem): ii) Dies Irae et Tuba mirum
Hector Berlioz
Grande Messe des Morts, Op. 5 (Requiem): ii) Dies Irae et Tuba mirum
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Grande Messe des Morts, Op. 5 (Requiem): ii) Dies Irae et Tuba mirum
Hector Berlioz
La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24, H. 111, Pt. I, Scène III: Marche hongroise
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24, H. 111, Pt. I, Scène III: Marche hongroise
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie fantastique (March to the Scaffold)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Symphonie fantastique (March to the Scaffold)
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie Fantastique Op 14
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Symphonie Fantastique Op 14
Hector Berlioz
Royal Hunt and Storm (The Trojans)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Royal Hunt and Storm (The Trojans)
Hector Berlioz
Villanelle (Nuits d'Ete)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Villanelle (Nuits d'Ete)
Hector Berlioz
Le spectre de la rose from Les nuits d'ete
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Le spectre de la rose from Les nuits d'ete
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie Fantastique
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Symphonie Fantastique
Hector Berlioz
Le carnaval romain
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Le carnaval romain
Hector Berlioz
Queen Mab scherzo (Romeo and Juliet)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Queen Mab scherzo (Romeo and Juliet)
Hector Berlioz
Le Corsaire Overture
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Le Corsaire Overture
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie fantastique (2nd mvt, 'A Ball')
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Symphonie fantastique (2nd mvt, 'A Ball')
Hector Berlioz
Les nuits d'ete (Op.7) (Six songs on poems by Theophile Gautier)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Les nuits d'ete (Op.7) (Six songs on poems by Theophile Gautier)
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie fantastique (March to the Scaffold)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Symphonie fantastique (March to the Scaffold)
Hector Berlioz
Rob Roy - Overture
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Rob Roy - Overture
Hector Berlioz
Benvenuto Cellini - Act 2
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Benvenuto Cellini - Act 2
Hector Berlioz
Benvenuto Cellini - Act 1
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Benvenuto Cellini - Act 1
Hector Berlioz
Hungarian March from Damnation of Faust
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Hungarian March from Damnation of Faust
Hector Berlioz
Romeo and Juliet, Op.17: Capulet's Festival and Love Scene
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Romeo and Juliet, Op.17: Capulet's Festival and Love Scene
Hector Berlioz
Le Carnaval romain Op 9, Overture
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Le Carnaval romain Op 9, Overture
Hector Berlioz
Les Nuits d'Été, Op. 7
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Les Nuits d'Été, Op. 7
Hector Berlioz
Les nuits d'été
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Les nuits d'été
Hector Berlioz
Le Carnaval romain, op. 9, overture
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Le Carnaval romain, op. 9, overture
Hector Berlioz
La mort d'Ophélie op.18/11
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
La mort d'Ophélie op.18/11
Hector Berlioz
Béatrice et Bénédict (Overture)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Béatrice et Bénédict (Overture)
Hector Berlioz
Harold en Italie - symphony Op.16 for viola and orchestra; 3rd mvt; Serenade
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Harold en Italie - symphony Op.16 for viola and orchestra; 3rd mvt; Serenade
Hector Berlioz
The Childhood of Christ (Part 3)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
The Childhood of Christ (Part 3)
Hector Berlioz
The Childhood of Christ (Part 2)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
The Childhood of Christ (Part 2)
Hector Berlioz
The Childhood of Christ (Part 1)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
The Childhood of Christ (Part 1)
Hector Berlioz
Harold in Italy, IV - Orgie de Brigands
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Harold in Italy, IV - Orgie de Brigands
Hector Berlioz
Harold in Italy, III - Serenade
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Harold in Italy, III - Serenade
Hector Berlioz
Symphonie Fantastique, Op 14
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Symphonie Fantastique, Op 14
Hector Berlioz
Hungarian March (The Damnation of Faust)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Hungarian March (The Damnation of Faust)
Carl Maria von Weber
Invitation to the Dance
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqxgh.jpg
link
Invitation to the Dance
Hector Berlioz
Les Nuits D'Ete Op.7
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Les Nuits D'Ete Op.7
Hector Berlioz
Un Bal (Symphonie fantastique)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Un Bal (Symphonie fantastique)
Hector Berlioz
The Childhood of Christ (Part 2)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
The Childhood of Christ (Part 2)
Hector Berlioz
The Childhood of Christ (Part 1)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
The Childhood of Christ (Part 1)
Hector Berlioz
Le dépit de la bergère
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Le dépit de la bergère
Hector Berlioz
Le Roi Lear, Op 4 (Overture)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Le Roi Lear, Op 4 (Overture)
Hector Berlioz
Overture: Le Corsaire, Op.21
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Overture: Le Corsaire, Op.21
Hector Berlioz
Les nuits d'ete, Op 7
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Les nuits d'ete, Op 7
Hector Berlioz
Les Nuits d'ete, no.6; L' Ile inconnue (The Unknown Isle)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Les Nuits d'ete, no.6; L' Ile inconnue (The Unknown Isle)
Hector Berlioz
Improvisation of themes of Hector Berlioz
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Improvisation of themes of Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Overture 'Le Corsaire' Op.21
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfd6.jpg
link
Overture 'Le Corsaire' Op.21
Load more tracks

Back to artist