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Berlioz(TM)s Symphonie Fantastique

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Stanislav Boyadjiev MUS 101 G 03/27/2009 Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique" The French composer Hector Berlioz is one of the greatest 19th century composers, who hold an exclusive place in musical history. Being one of the most original of great composers, he was also an innovator as a practical musician, and a writer and critic. Berlioz is much popular with his musical output and work instead of his literary achievement. Although his writing achievement is less significant than his musical, few musicians have ever excelled in all these different fields at once. The "Symphonie Fantastique" ("Fantastical Symphony"), Berlioz's best known work, is one of the most famous examples of Romantic program music. It was initially composed in 1830 and first performed in December the same year. ...read more.


The "Symphonie Fantastique" is notable for its use of the id�e fixe, or fixed central unifying motif, the recurring theme, varied in shape and treatment but appearing in all movements, which is one of Berlioz's more obvious contributions to musical form and structure. It is very important to remark that the symphony is scored for an orchestra consisting of 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd doubling English horn), 2 clarinets (1st doubling E-flat clarinet), 4 bassoons, 4 French horns, 2 trumpets, 2 cornets, 3 trombones, 2 ophicleides (originally one ophicleide and one serpent), 2 pairs of timpani, snare drum, cymbals, bass drum, bells in C and G, 2 harps, and strings. There are five movements, instead of the four movements which were conventional for symphonies at the time: 1. ...read more.


His sensations, emotions and memories are transformed into musical images and ideas. The beloved one herself becomes to him a tune, a recurring theme, the id�e fixe, which continually haunts him. Berlioz's intense emotional feeling deriving from his infatuation for Harriet Smithson was clearly a major driving force. The work has always been valued as an example of a powerful personal statement made through art. In conclusion, the innovative characteristics of the "Symphonie Fantastique" had a very direct effect on later composer. The innovation of the "dramatic symphony" laid the foundations for programmatic developments in musical expression by composers such as Liszt and Richard Strauss. Berlioz example serve to illustrate a number of the propositions, particularly the matter of innovation, where Berlioz's clearly expressed objectives have had an important influence on music of the composers after his death. ...read more.

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