Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique Essay

972 words - 4 pages

The fourth movement contains possibly the most famous excerpt from the entire symphony. Amidst a background of a hesitant march, signifying the final trek to the guillotine, the idée fixe returns yet again in the clarinet part. It is now in the key of G, which is the same distance away (a fifth up rather than a fifth down) from the home key of C. This represents the last thought going through the artist’s mind before his execution, and the artist’s head can be seen and heard bouncing down the scaffold in the falling pizzicato strings. See Figure 4 on the next page.

Figure 4.


In the fifth movement, the idée fixe returns, signifying the beloved’s taunts of the artist, now in hell ...view middle of the document...

It has no equal among the instruments for reviving images and sentiments of the past if the composer intends to touch the hidden chords of tender memories”. Berlioz continues to explain:
In the Adagio of one of my symphonies the English horn repeats the phrases of the oboe in the lower octave, like the voice of a youth replying to a girl in a pastoral dialogue. Then, at the end of the piece, it reiterates fragments of these phrases with a hollow accompaniment of four kettledrums, while the rest of the orchestra remains silent. The mood of absence and oblivion, of sorrowful loneliness, which arises in the soul of many a listener at the recurrence of this melancholy tune, would be far less poignant if it were played by another instrument.

He employed harps because he felt nothing else could give him the beautiful sound, and wrote that the effect was multiplied by using more than one. He explains that the Eb clarinet was more strident and shrill than the lower pitched clarinets, thus making it more suitable for the taunting melody of the beloved in Figure 5. Finally, he uses pairs of ophicleides in the last two movements, because it was the ‘ugliest noise’ Berlioz could think of. Berlioz writes in his Treatise:
Nothing is more clumsy – I could almost say, more monstrous – nothing less appropriate in combination with the rest of the orchestra than those more or less rapid passages played as solos in the medium range of the ophicleides in certain modern operas. They are like an escaped bull jumping around in a drawing room.

He also was interested in stretching the demands on each instrument to what the instruments were capable of instead of what the particular musicians thought the capabilities were. Believing that the musicians did not know the potential of their own instruments, he explored the further reaches of their tessitura. He also experimented with...

Find Another Essay On Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

Romantic Period Essay

768 words - 4 pages not more evident than in his Symphonie fantastique, which was written just three years after Beethoven died. This piece defies so many basic laws of music that fills our previous perception of classical music that is sounds as if Berlioz came from an entirely different planet! One with far greater musically advanced minds. Handel, Beethoven, and Berlioz, all shared two characteristics with the foremost German Romantic, Robert Schumann, . That

Romanticism Essay

613 words - 2 pages , strange, and vivid ideas in their music. Composers began suggesting pictorial ideas and telling stories in their music. An example is the distinguished orchestral inventor Hector Berlioz. His innovative style led to his creation of a single theme classical form. In 1830, Berlioz created Symphonie fantastique which derived from different interests in his life. It had five movements presenting human emotions, death, imagination, the peaceful

The Era of Romaticism

617 words - 2 pages vivid ideas in their music. Composers began suggesting pictorial ideas and telling stories in their music. An example is the distinguished orchestral inventor Hector Berlioz. His innovative style led to his creation of a single theme classical form. In 1830, Berlioz created Symphonie fantastique which derived from different interests in his life. It had five movements presenting human emotions, death, imagination, the peaceful aspects of nature

Music that is Romantic

782 words - 3 pages their own conceptions of the expressive functions of music into the past, and read Romantic programs into the instrumental works not only of Beethoven, but also the likes of Mozart, Haydn, and Bach! The diffused scenic effects in the music of such composers as Mendelssohn and Schumann seem pale when compared to the feverish, and detailed drama that constitutes the story of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique (1830). Because his imagination always

Program Music

710 words - 3 pages symphony is Symphonie Fantastique written by Hector Berlioz. This piece was written to tell the story of an artist with a self-destructive passion for a beautiful woman. The piece describes his obsession and includes tender moments as well as visions ranging from suicide and murder to ecstasy and despair. The final form of program music is the symphonic poem. This tells a story and creates a scene or idea using music but is different than a concert

Romantic Period Classical Music

1964 words - 8 pages Schubert’s compositions favors the perfection of Classical form with some deviations. Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), a French composer, continued to push formal limitations to great extremes. Berlioz was both a composer and conductor who lived a life wrought with intense bouts of depression. His best known work, Symphonie Fantastique, composed in 1830, displayed Berlioz’s raconteur-like tendencies at their finest. This work weaved a tragic tale of

Romanticism vs Neoclassicism

3220 words - 13 pages emotion, projected their own feelings, and suggested exotic, strange, and vivid ideas in their music. Composers began suggesting pictorial ideas and telling stories in their music. An example is the distinguished orchestral inventor Hector Berlioz. His innovative style led to his creation of a single theme classical form. In 1830, Berlioz created Symphonie fantastique which derived from different interests in his life. It had five movements

Sight and Sound. Lauren Graft.This essays describes the importance of film score and how music is used to manipulate an audience into having emotions

5468 words - 22 pages composition. Berlioz made use of this technique in Symphonie Fantastique. Similarly, scores make use of the compositional building block of a "leitmotif" where a recurring theme indicates a certain person, attribute or idea. Richard Wagner is famous for incorporating themes in such fashion to ascribe super-human attributes to characters in many of his works including Die Valkyrie and others. Other methods may be developed and will incorporate repeated

When the Bubble Burst

1539 words - 6 pages By the time I arrived state side from my second tour in the Middle East the housing bubble had already burst. I noticed a drastic change in the way that many of my friends and family were living. Several of my friends that worked in real estate had sold their boats and seconds houses. My own stock portfolio had lost a third of its value. My sister and her husband had defaulted on their home mortgage leaving them scrambling for a place to live. I

phase diagram

4456 words - 18 pages Introduction: Chemical equilibrium is a crucial topic in Chemistry. To represent and model equilibrium, the thermodynamic concept of Free energy is usually used. For a multi-component system the Gibbs free energy is a function of Pressure, Temperature and quantity (mass, moles) of each component. If one of these parameters is changed, a state change to a more energetically favorable state will occur. This state has the lowest free energy

Revolutionary Work of Art

1890 words - 8 pages Walter Benjamin emphasizes in his essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” that technology used to make an artwork has changed the way it was received, and its “aura”. Aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art that has not been reproduced. The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is an example of a work that has been and truly a beacon of art. It has brought a benefit and enlightenment to the art

Similar Essays

Going Green With Berlioz Essay

2343 words - 10 pages The name, Hector Berlioz [1803-1869] and his Symphonie Fantastique, has instigated great turmoil among musical scholars throughout history. Berlioz is a unique composer in the eyes of the music world. People either love or hate him. When one hears the names of Beethoven, Brahms, or Mendelssohn, there is no opposition to consider these men as first rank composers. On the contrary, Berlioz is a name that tends to cause strong differences of

Hector Berlioz (1803 1869) Essay

977 words - 4 pages became engaged to another woman before he went off to Rome to work (the other woman, Marie, married someone else while he was gone). Berlioz wrote several works during his sojourn in Rome, but the one that won him the most recognition was a program symphony, Symphonie fantastique. Berlioz used this symphony to express his feelings about Harriet Smithson. The symphony tells the story of a young poet who has taken an

Metropolis Symphony Essay

2619 words - 10 pages have been written that are programmatic are Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz, Symphony no. 3 "Pastoral" by Vaughan Williams, and Metropolis Symphony by Michael Daugherty. This paper will show the similarities and differences between the programmatic symphonies of Beethoven, Berlioz, and Daugherty. Ludwig Van Beethoven 1770-1827 The first major programmatic symphony was written by Ludwig Van Beethoven in 1807-08. Although it was

A Brief Summary Of The Life Of Composer Hector Berlioz, Followed By An In 0depth Description Of His Grande Messe Des Morts

3272 words - 13 pages During the Romantic period many composers made a huge impact with their music, some with traditional forms and others with new styles, such as program music. One of the composers who became a pioneer in the new program approach was Hector Berlioz with Symphonie Fantastique. As well as being a composer who worked in new, unconventional styles, he also used more traditional genres as well, among these the choral symphony and requiem mass. Ernest