The Romantic Era

nineteenth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Hector Berlioz



Hector Berlioz was born near Grenoble in the Freneh Alps. As a child he was a voracious reader, particularly of Virgil, Shakespeare, and Goethe. He never learned to play the piano, and lessons on the flute lasted just a year. Only on the guitar, a gift from his father, did he attain a degree of proficiency.

Despite young Berlioz's musical aspirations, parental expectations of a career in medicine led first to studies at a medical college in Paris. But the desire to be a composer was too strong, and to his parents' chagrin he abandoned medicine and went to the Pans Conservatoire to study composition. Berlioz proved to be a troublesome student. His ideas were conceived on a grand scale and were difficult to perform because of the large forces required. Nevertheless he was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1830 and his father finally accepted that his son was a composer.

Berlioz's first major piece was the Symphonic fantastique, one of the most original and revolutionary concepts ever penned. Like many works from the Romantic period the Symphonie is "programme music": the second movement describes a ball; the third, a successor to Beethoven's Pastoral symphony, is a depiction of nature; and the fourth is a gruesome "March to the Scaffold." The inspiration for this monumental work was unrequited love; the main musical idea throughout the work represents the woman in question, actress Harriet Smithson. Berlioz had seen the performances of Shakespeare that had made her the darling of the French capital, but she refused to let him woo her. When she heard the symphony she had inspired, however, she fell in love with its author and the two were married.

In 1834, Berlioz was commissioned by Paganini to write Harold in Italy, another massive work that has a major solo part for the viola. Paganini was disappointed that the solo role did not give him more to play and never performed the work, but lie remained friendly with Berlioz and in 1838 his gift of 20,000 francs enabled the Frenchman to give up music criticism, which he loathed, to concentrate on composing. More large-scale works followed, including a Requiem commissioned by the French government in 1837 that required a monumental 220 players and 200 voices.

After all his efforts, Berlioz's first marriage was a failure and he separated from Harriet in 1844. Undeterred, he married again, this time Marie Recio, whom he had met in 1 841.

This was also the year he completed the charming song-cycle Les nuits d'ete (Summer nights) for mezzo-soprano and piano. In 1856 Berlioz orchestrated the work, in which form it is better known today. A master of orchestration, Berlioz wrote a pioneering essay on the subject in 1844. It remains an important reference for composers today.

In 1856 Berlioz embarked on his grandest work, the opera Les Troyens (The Trojans), regarded by many as his masterpiece. He used the operas of Cluck as models, perhaps because of the Classical rather than Romantic subject matter, and took three years to complete it. Because of its length, Les Troyens was divided into two parts to facilitate staging, Acts 1 and 2 becoming La prise de Troie (The capture of Troy) and Acts 3 to 5 Les Troyens a Carthage (The Trojans in Carthage).

Berlioz died m 1869 and was buried in Montmartre in Paris. Curiously, the French did not automatically take him to their hearts, and for many years his works were more popular in Germany, England and Russia — the countries he regularly visited on conducting tours - than in his native land.


Hector Berlioz



Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)



The Damnation of Faust
Soliste: Hugo Peraldo

La damnation de Faust

Soliste: J. Berthelon

Beatrice et Benedict

Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra
Symphonie Fantastique
Un bal (Valse: Allegro non troppo)

Kysilko, Janna
Les Nuit d'Ete



Eugene Delacroix





















J.S. Strauss







Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy