He died in Paris on 8 march 1869, one hundred and fifty years. Hector Berlioz, however, is well in tune with the times. His music, which has so much surprised that she bothered, comes from a long purgatory. It had not always met with success in its creation, then fell into a long neglect. Only, the Symphonie fantastique escaped oblivion, and yet was she of the best defenders in Chicago, and then in Munich with Rafael Kubelik and London with Thomas Beecham and Colin Davis that, even in France. The path was long. He had to get back to statements as incongruous as that found in the History of music of a certain Alice Gabeaud. “Hector Berlioz, French musician, born in the department of Isère in 1803 and died in Paris in 1869, had a life very rough, very funny,” can we read in this book, with a preface by Roger Ducasse, dedicated to Vincent d’indy and published at Cambridge in 1930.

” READ ALSO – Berlioz, the status of the commander

A life of bumps and bruises

” Nobody has been to the art a devotion more absolute, and sacrificed himself so completely his life.”

Théophile Gautier,

Berlioz had the life he wanted. His father, a doctor, taught him music, playing the children, the flute and the guitar, but means that he succeeded him in his office and sends it to Paris. Hector leaves The Côte-Saint-André, who spent a year at the faculty of medicine and then, even to be angry with his own, enrolls at the Paris conservatoire. From then until the end of his days, Berlioz experienced life’s bumps and bruises, complicated, and musicians who cannot earn a living from their music, to which they sacrifice all else. “Nobody, wrote Théophile Gautier, had to art a devotion more absolute, and sacrificed himself so completely his life.”

Hungarian March of The Damnation of Faust, by the national Orchestra of France conducted by Valery Gergiev

The enthusiasm and the passion

Berlioz is not a warm. It is necessary to read his Memoirs, exciting, sincerity is above suspicion, and of a writing that is superb for the approach. He expresses his emotions without restraint, to share his discoveries with enthusiasm and, in all circumstances, it puts a fiery spirit irresistible. Thus, the story of his first love. Estelle is 17 years old, he was 12. “In the seeing, I felt a shock ; I liked it, it is all about. Dizziness took me and left me more…” And in literature. Hector Berlioz, in love with frantic, married Harriet Smithson, a view to the Odeon in Hamlet. except that for Deschamps, the friend, Hector, has not married the actress irish, or even Ophelia, but Shakespeare himself.

“I swore, on leaving the Opera, that in spite of father, mother, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends, I would be a musician”

Hector Berlioz

as Well as music. Arriving in Paris, he was not 18 years old. He is eager to hear the music for the orchestra. In Côte-Saint-André, it was that the harmony of the national Guard, every Sunday, in the magnificent hall of the Thirteenth century, but it played false. He rushes to the Opera of the street The Peltier, to a day-to-day lack Iphigénie en Tauride of Gluck and rabat the following day on an opera of Salieri a little stiff, The Danaides, but it doesn’t matter. “I swore, on leaving the Opera, that in spite of father, mother, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends, I would be a musician.” And yet, a little later, he hears the symphonies of Beethoven, with the exception of the Ninth : “The jolt that I received was almost comparable to the one that had given me Shakespeare. I opened up a new world of music, as the poet in me had revealed a new universe of poetry”.

Unhappy king, of Wild by Stéphanie d’oustrac, the Paris Opera

The composer of all the forms

All of the composers are not Mozart. The divine jack-of-all is almost the only one in the history of the music to be tried in all musical genres and with equal happiness. Hector Berlioz is almost reached. He has composed chamber music in the form of quintets for flute and strings, forgotten today. Seldom fail to call the concertos for solo instrument and orchestra, yet as Harold in Italy pretty much gives the jewel box to the alto. Everywhere peaks. The symphony in the head with the Symphonie fantastique, personal quest to be explosive as much as the preeminent introduction to the descriptive music, and Romeo and Juliet of which Wagner, who knows whereof he returns, saying that the love Scene contained the most beautiful melody that a man has ever invented.

the Summits also when Berlioz uses the voice, mode of expression, the most intimate, with summer Nights, six melodies on the poems of Théophile Gautier. Or when he imagines this format that it will stay clean, mid-cantate, mi-oratorio for The Childhood of Christ, in which the contrasts are unexpected, even violent, and always surprising. The summit of the peaks is in category lyrical, with Les Troyens kind of opera-albatross, gigantic, imperfect, and barbarous man who wanted the fight to Wagner, the youngest son of ten years, whose first opus the referred to Berlioz as the only challenger. Without success, it is not less, and by far, the most fascinating of French operas.

Summit, finally, that the Grande Messe des morts, page, the most significant of the spiritual music of the Nineteenth century, Berlioz does not retain a sacrifice to the excess -200 choir, 16 tympani, 100 strings and 32 brass additional to the four corners of the horizon.

The Spectre of the rose, summer Nights, by Joyce DiDonato, orchestra of the Festival of Verbier, led by Esa Pekka Salonen in 2015

A master colorist

” The instruments seem to be arranged in spite of common sense. It would seem, to use the slang of the profession, and that it had not to ring. And it sounded wonderfully ”

Camille Saint-Saëns

After Berlioz, the French music, and not only she, will never be the same. His writing is radically new to the form and harmony, but he mostly plays on color as a means of expression. He encourages Joseph Sax, a factor of wind instruments belgian in his research until the saxophone, the name of its inventor, and that il will be the first to use it in his scores. Berlioz was the bête noire of the commissioners of the orchestra, to which he asked for instruments not found or accessories unknown. Even today, his combinations continue to amaze. Saint-Saëns, himself a skillful and innovate, did not return, taking one of his scores: “The instruments seem to be arranged in spite of common sense. It would seem, to use the slang of the profession, and that it had not to ring. And it sounded beautifully.” Wagner, with whom he quarreled, will never forget the lesson. Malher will inherit the total freedom of the composer. A century after the death of Berlioz, Olivier Messiaen, there will be its grain.

The Symphonie fantastique, last movement, by Emmanuel Krivine and La Chambre philharmonique

Artist A to Z

It would be wrong to embellish too the table and idealizing the great Hector. It was a dog. At the very least disgruntled, it was usually in anger. Against others and against himself. And, to come there, it had not. Nothing was done as well as if it provided personally from A to Z. We congratulate. Like Wagner, Berlioz wrote personally most of the librettos of his operas. Les Troyens would they be what they are if the composer had translated The Aeneid ? For the stage of input of The Damnation of Faust, what a librettist would have had the humility to write “The old winter gave way to spring ; nature is rejuvenated’ by the composer whose simplicity determines the result of the work?

Thank you, soft twilight, of The Damnation of Faust, by Jonas Kaufmann at the Paris Opera

Berlioz concerts

march 12 – Philharmonie de Paris

Romeo and Juliet – national Orchestra of Lyon, Chorus Spirito, with Alain Altinoglu, Nora Gubish, Yann Beuron…

march 22 and 24 – Opéra de Nice

Damnation of Faust – Nice Philharmonic chamber Orchestra, John Nelson, John Irving, Karine Deshaye…

24 march – Halle aux grains of Toulouse

The Madness Berlioz – Orchestre du Capitole, with Christophe Mangou

27 march – Maison de la Radio

The Captive, The Trojans, The summer Nights… – Lea Desandre, Lise Berthaud, Yves Lafargue

April 25 and 26 – Salle Erasme in Strasbourg

Damnation of Faust – Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg, with John Nelson, Joyce DiDonato, Michael Spyres, Nicolas Courjal…

may 2 – Maison de la Radio

Symphonie fantastique – Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, with Mikko Franck

may 12, – Opera de Marseille

Symphonie fantastique – philharmonic Orchestra of Marseille, with Thierry Fischer

24, 25 and 26 may – Philharmonie de Paris

Weekend Berlioz – Orchestre Pasdeloup, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, The Centuries…

June 1st – Opéra de Dijon

Symphonie fantastique – Orchestre Dijon-Bourgogne, with Gergely Madaras

4 June – Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

Symphonie fantastique – Vienna Philharmonic with Mariss Jansons

6 June – Maison de la Radio

Harold in Italy – Orchestre national de France, Emmanuel Krivine, Nicolas Bône

8 September – royal Opera of Versailles

Benvenuto Cellini – revolutionary and romantic Orchestra, with John Eliot Gardiner, Michael Spyres, Matthew Rose…