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Berlioz Symphonies Exploratory Essay


Hector Berlioz is renowned as one of the best and highly gifted composers of symphonies. He was well appreciated and desirably honored amidst a galaxy of other top and skilled composers. He composed many songs on top of the classical literature works which he did during the period between 1840 and 1870. Although he was nurturing his works in a period when there were other famous symphonies, he managed to remain outstanding in his compositions and was eventually a pillar of symphony history.

Berlioz was born on11th December 1803 in France. He did magnanimous musical and literature work. He had specialized in the composition of romantic symphonies. For instance, Grande messe and symphonie fantastique are the most famous romantics which earned him exemplary credit (Bloom ‘Berlioz Studies’ 67).

In addition, Berlioz parents were Louis-Joseph who was a physician while his mother Marie Antoinette was a renowned scholar. His father was an atheist who was liberal in his religious life while his mother was a strong Roman Catholic follower (Bloom 71). Berlioz graduated from Grenoble high school and had no interest in further professional studies. He actually disregarded his parents’ efforts of making him study medicine in Paris (Bloom 73).

Berlioz Symphonies


Out of the diverse scope of symphonies by Berlioz, symphony fantastique is considered to be the most outstanding among the rest. This symphony drew a lot of fame across the world. History reveals that this work made a great debut when it was launched in 1830 (Cairns 146).

This was after the deaths of other famous composers such as Beethoven who had died 3 years earlier and Schubert who had passed on some 2 years back. This symphony was distinguished by the fact that it had huge innovations of programmatic symphony. It was a story that related to Berloiz himself which had been attributed in his autobiography (Cairns 149 ).

In addition to this symphony, Berlioz had composed other thrilling orchestral compositions which included symphony dramatique, Romeo et Juliet and legend dramatique (Cairns 447). These were both large scale productions specifically meant for orchestral and mixed voices.

Berlioz had also come up with the popular concert ante symphony which was both violas and orchestral. The two compositions remained popular for a long period since they were found enjoyable by the lovers of musical symphonies (Bloom 135). Berlioz composed numerous concert overtures which were enduringly famous.

They included le corire and le carnaval romain (Bloom 300). He had also a great skill in making pure vocally oriented songs. Major examples include son cycle les and oratorio Christ which have had an enduring appeal. In addition, some of the remarkable songs by Berlioz also included grande messe morts and litergical te deum.

The music of Berlioz was unconventional in the sense that it did not agree with the normal opera scene and concert arrangements (Goepp 400). He used to formulate his own social performances by booking and paying for himself. He did it throughout his music career although it was an optional financial burden he had imposed on himself (Bloom ‘Berlioz Studies’ 302).

His works involved many performers and this minimized the financial gain which he realized. Therefore, Berlioz paid keen attention to his part time job of being a journalist to support himself financially. Berlioz admited that in composing his works, there were times he had to follow the example of Shakespeare and Weber. It is noted that he deployed broad characteristics of Beethoven in his world of music.

Berlioz artistic work as it has been noted earlier, had a specialty in orchestra. His symphonies contained different episodes which followed sonata principles. He composed tonals which had movements to and from the sonata. He developed musical productions which had variety of melodies and dynamics (Tyroll 678).

His music would be performed using a variety of instruments. This included both stringed and wind instruments. In general, his music would use any suitable assortment of instruments. This was one of the major aspects which made his music be highly adoptable.

Many musical researchers describe Berlioz symphonies as classical masterpieces which have been able to stand the test of time. It has been revealed that the musicological techniques employed by Berlioz have remained valid even in this digital age (Tyroll 800). Moreover, the works of Berlioz have been celebrated across the world although critique of his work has been inevitable.

The scholars of literature and music have keenly analyzed and evaluated the worth of his symphonies. Several experts term his works as unnecessarily too detailed and with too much information.Berlioz had been severally accused of poor diction especially when displaying variety of emotions.

However, it is also important to note that Berlioz had demonstrated exceedingly abundant consistency in his literature despite few professional strains which were evident. Besides, Berlioz had demonstrated great skills of adapting to all kinds of environment in his musical productions. He had been able to illustrate the inherent beauty of literature through making symphonies which brought reality in drama.

The ability of a musician or a poet to be relevant depends on his or her capability to bring out a complete picture of what human life entails (Tyroll 800). Music in itself is a complete tool that is supposed to impact the entire audience either consciously or subconsciously. Findings have shown that great works of past ages are loosing their validity as time passes by (Goepp 450). This may not necessarily because they lacked the right composure to remain appealing in this generation. Their inability to remain relevant in the current extremely dynamic society disqualifies them.

Berlioz symphonies in the broad area of romance have recorded the highest performance for reasonably long time. This has been attributed to the fact that when he noticed his special ability to intrigue the delicate emotions of people, Berlioz effectively and successfully decided to major in romantics.

His romantic symphonies have been the choice of his fans. Berlioz achieved success in building the true picture of absolute and rational romanticism (Tyroll 124). He managed to inspire many other writers who had shown exemplary skills in romantics. He asserted that as result of his involvement with great and famous people like lord Byron, Walter Scott and Thomas Moore, he was able to enrich his ideas or symphony composition (Cairns 235).

To wrap it all it critical to give Berlioz the praise, admiration and honor he deserves. He was and has remained to be an icon in the competitive and dynamic music industry. His music has continued to move variety of audiences across the nations of the world. Finally, what he did when he renounced his carrier in medicine was a true show of his passion. Truly, Berlioz is a legend who has been able to create an undisputable legacy through his amazing music career.

Works Cited

Bloom, Peter. Berlioz: Scenes from the Life and Work. New York: University of Rochester Press, 2008. Print.

Bloom, Peter. Berlioz Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

Cairns, David. Berlioz: Volume Two: Servitude and Greatness, 1832-1869. California: University of California Press, 2003. Print.

Goepp, Philip. Great Works of Music; Symphonies and Their Meaning. Oxford: Kessinger publishing, 2005. Print.

Tyroll, John. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Volume 22. Grove: Grove, 2001. Print.

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