Hector Berlioz Biography, childhood Born in La Côte-St-André, Isère to liberal, intellectual father and Catholic mother


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Hector Berlioz


Biography, childhood

  • Born in La Côte-St-André, Isère to liberal, intellectual father and Catholic mother

  • At age 10, attended seminary for short time; father educated thereafter

  • Learned guitar and flute

  • First compostions written in teenage years as guitar accompaniments for operas and for his childhood crush



Biography, young adulthood

  • November 1921-Went to Paris for medical school

  • Spent all his time at the opera

  • 1823-Gave up medical school

  • 1824-Messe solennelle composed for the church of St. Roch

  • 1830-Symphonie fantastique



Bibliography, adulthood

  • Avid journalist, employer (Bertin family) enabled his composition and left us with his memoirs

  • 1834-1837 Benevento Cellini

  • 1837 Composed Messe des Morts (Requiem) while awaiting Cellini’s 1838 production



Works

  • Composed six operas, four symphonies, seven major orchestral works, and 30+ choir works, among others

  • Work was not fully appreciated in its time

  • Was more successful directing others’ operas

  • Some pieces too difficult in musicianship and staging for his time

  • Known in his time as a greater conductor than composer



Romanticism

  • Focus on the individual (reveal the world to others through one’s self)

  • Genius of the Artist

  • Personal statement

  • Great emotion (evident in Berlioz as a child)

  • Berlioz as “Embodiment of Romanticism”



Messe des Morts (1837) Poietical Analysis

  • Comissioned by Adrien de Gasparin, Minister of the Interior of France

  • Memorialization of the seventh anniversary of the 1830 July Revolution and the 18 soldiers assassinated in 1835

  • First performance on December 5, 1837



Agnus Dei

  • Characterized by long, held chords by woodwinds and strings

  • Incorporates melodies from previous movements in the Mass

  • Includes extended text, like chant prosula



Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem sempiternam.

  • Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem sempiternam.

  • Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem.

  • Exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet.

  • Requiem aeternam

  • Dona defunctis, Domine, et lux, perpetua luceat eis, cum sanctis tuis in aeternam, Domine, quia pius es.

  • Amen.









































Messe des Morts Esthesical Analysis

  • Well received by audiences, Berlioz describes the emotional attacks some experienced at the piece

  • Mass hailed for organization

  • Music, not words meant to emote

  • Composed with contemporary romantic style, though evidence of classical style as well



Bibliography

  • Cairns, David. Berlioz Requiem. London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. 1986.

  • Cone, Edward T. “Berlioz’s Divine Comedy: The Grande Messe des morts.” 19th Century Music 4 (Summer 1980): 3-16.

  • Di Grazia, Donna M. “Volcanic Eruptions: Berlioz and His Grande Messe des morts.” 43 Choral Journal (November 2002): 27-55

  • Kean, Ronald. “Medievalism in Hector Berlioz’s Grande Messe des mortes.” 43 Choral Journal (December 2002): 7-24.

  • MacDonald, Hugh. “Berlioz, Hector.” Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 18 April 2006), http://www.grovemusic.com.

  • “Grande Messe des morts.” Wikipedia, The Free Enyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org



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