Hector Berlioz


Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz is a composer, writer and a critic french, born December 11, 1803 in La Cote-Saint-Andre in Isere, who died on March 8, 1869 in Paris, at 4 rue de Calais, in the district of New Athens.

It is considered one of the greatest representatives of European romanticism, though it récusât the term "romantic" who did nothing in his eyes. It is actually defined as a classical composer. His music had the reputation of not respecting the laws of harmony, an accusation which does not resist a thorough reading of his scores. It reveals, paradoxically, that Berlioz respects the historical foundations of harmony dating back to the sixteenth century (rules governing the movement and contrary spouses), but sometimes it s'affranchit additional rules emerged later and aesthetically questionable (rules modulation cadentielle among others).

Hector Berlioz is derived from an old family dauphinoise. His father, Louis Berlioz, is a doctor and his mother, Antoinette Josephine-Marmion, a fervent Catholic. At age 6, Hector is sent to the seminar to follow his studies. With the closure of the establishment in 1811, his father decides to take charge of education Hector, intending a career as a doctor. That did not prevent it from completing his training with a music teacher who taught him singing and flute. At the age of twelve, he began to compose.

Registered at the medical school of Paris, he left his family and took courses for a year before writing to his father that he prefers art to medicine: "I felt my passion for music s' increase and override my desire to meet my father ". It blurs with his family, attended the Paris Opera and follows the teachings of Jean-François Lesueur then Antoine Reicha.

The beginnings
While his musical training is rudimentary, he started to play the guitar and flageolet. It is very early attracted by Parisian life years of the Bourbon Restoration, a period marked by a large cultural and intellectual impetus [ref. necessary].

In 1823 he studied composition at the Conservatoire de Paris.
He writes his solemn Mass in 1824, discovers Weber (he will remember for the Symphonie Fantastique) and despite his failure to tender for Rome in 1826, he continued his studies at the Conservatory (led then by the grand master of the time Luigi Cherubini) with the teaching remarkable Anton Reicha for fugue and counterpoint but also the composition with Lesueur. His cantata The Death of Orpheus is deemed unplayable by the jury. During a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet he discovered and fell in love with Harriet Smithson, the Irish actress of the play, he married in 1833.

He also discovers Goethe and Faust: it will write on the translation of Gerard de Nerval first eight scenes of Faust (1828) and then in 1846 the dramatic legend The damnation de Faust.

The execution in 1828 of Beethoven symphonies by Antoine-Francois Habeneck going to impress.

La Symphonie Fantastique
Since 1830, only six years after the Symphony No. 9 by Beethoven, his studies, his influences and his genius (and his love for devouring Harriet Smithson) allow him to write the Symphonie Fantastique op. 14, which enthusiasm Franz Liszt, but cause a great scandal with a public who do not realize the scope of the work: it will revive the "music program" or "descriptive music" and find ramifications throughout German music (Liszt, Richard Strauss) and French (Saint-Saens, Dukas, Franck, Indy), which will follow. Since 1834, he became known as critical in the Gazette then in the musical Debates, and supports his musical system which makes harmony in search of expression.

The travel writer-critic
He won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1831 with his cantata The last night of Sardanapale, which requires him to live at the Academy of France in Rome (Villa Medici), he met Mendelssohn but Italy inspires and disappointed at the same time. In 1831 and 1832, he inspires his stay Lélio or return to life, King Lear and he composes Harold in Italy (1834) for viola and orchestra at the request of Paganini on a poem by Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, this work is like a "second Symphonie Fantastique."

He was hired in 1835 as music critic in Le Journal des Débats where his articles had to date and make many enmities. He signed his articles until 1864.

The Requiem
So that across Europe, it was regarded as a romantic hero, he remained an enemy in Paris, where the music was above all a matter of politics and power, alliances and betrayals.

Thus, when won a contract from the Department of Fine Arts for a mass deaths, the supporters of the Director of the Conservatory, Cherubini, tried (unsuccessfully) to derail the contract. But after he finished the work (in the space of three months) that arrangements had been made for its creation, the ministry cancelled without explanation, the concert.

The Requiem was his chance, however, with the assistance of well-placed friends in December 1837 in the Chapel of the Invalides, decorated with thousands of candles, the royal family, the diplomatic corps and the whole Parisian society; Berlioz had obtained 190 instrumentalists, 210 choristers, four sets of brass placed in the corners of the chapel, and sixteen timpani.

"When [the entry of the four orchestras copper] at the beginning of Tuba mirum which s'enchaîne without interruption with the Dies irae, the movement is expanding twice, and all instruments of copper broke the first both in the new movement, then s'interpellent and respond remotely by entries successive échafaudées the upper third of each other. It is therefore of utmost importance to clearly indicate the time of the four great extent at the moment where it operates. Otherwise this terrible cataclysm musical, prepared so long hand, which means exceptional and are employed in tremendous proportions and combinations that no one had tried then and has tried since, musical table of the Last Judgement, which will remain I hope something great in our art, can not produce a huge and terrible cacophony.
As a result of my habitual mistrust, I stayed behind and Habeneck, turning him back, I watching the group of timbaliers, he could not see, the time approaching when they would take part in the melee. There is perhaps miles measures in my Requiem. Precisely on that I just mentioned, where the movement is widening, where the instruments of copper launch their terrible fanfare, on the single measure finally, in which the action of the conductor is absolutely indispensable, lowering its Habeneck stick, calmly pulls her snuffbox and began to take a plug of tobacco. I was always the eye of his side at the moment I quickly pivots on a heel and m'élançant front of him, I extend my arm and I mark the time of the four major new movement. The orchestras follow me, hand in order, I drive the track until the end, and I dreamed that is produced. When the last words of the chorus, Habeneck Tuba mirum lives saved: "What I had cold sweat, he said, without you we were lost! -- Yes, I know, I replied looking fixedly. "I n'ajoutai not a word… Did he express? Would it be possible that this man, agree with Mr. XX., Which I hated, and friends of Cherubini has dared to meditate and attempt to commit such a low scélératesse? I do not want to think… But I have no doubt. God forgive me if I do insult him. "
-- Hector Berlioz, Memory, Ch.46

The Requiem won him a great acclamation from critics and from the public.

The opera
In 1838, he joined with the opera Benvenuto Cellini's atmosphere cabal organized by his opponents led to a failure of representations.
But his commitment to the library Conservatory and believes that it bears Paganini allow him to write Romeo and Juliet (1839) that enthusiasm Richard Wagner.

The 1840-1841 period saw the composition of the Funeral and Triumphal Symphony, the cycle of summer nights (six poems by Theophile Gautier: Villanelle, Le spectre de la rose, Absence, Sur lagoons, At the cemetery, the island Unknown) for voice and piano that orchestrera thereafter.

In those years his prestige as a conductor is more important that as a composer, and more abroad than in France, he plays his works but also those of its peers in Belgium, Germany, England, Hungary or in Russia with his new companion the singer Marie Recio. The creation of Childhood of Christ is a triumph (1864). The English period 1847-1848 is particularly rich in adventures. Berlioz leading the orchestra Drury Lane in London, led by conductor and composer Louis-Antoine Jullien, King concerts walks and concerts monsters who has sought Berlioz ... who, after having praised the curse . Louis-Antoine Jullien is a madman in more than one way.

Read also Adolphe Adam


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