Hector Berlioz'symphonie Fantastique

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Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, movement 5; Songe d’une Nuit du Sabbat(dream of a witches Sabbath) fits into the romantic themes, particularly the sublime and individual. Through an analysis of the score, I will investigate how Berlioz used musical techniques to convey greatness in his work and suggest the themes of romanticism. The idea of the romantic period(1825-1900) was a revolt against classicism, the goal of the period was to be individualistic. Romantic composers relied on their own feelings to compose, in order to encourage predetermined moods in the listener. Berlioz’ lived a troubled life and this was reflected in his compositions through emotion.

Hector Berlioz was born 1803 in La Cote St Andre, a small town near the French
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His idea for this programmatic symphony was a lavish attempt to gain Smithson’s attention. A symphony is traditionally four movements, but this work is in five, which could be a sign of innovation…or simply madness. Berlioz was one of the pioneers of the programmatic style. Berlioz was hopelessly in love with Smithson and resorted to opium when composing the piece. Symphonie Fantastique premiered in Paris in 1830, in some opinions it was a complete failure, in others it was a success, Smithson lamentably did not attend.

The program is based on his personal impassioned life, the story is about a depressed and love sick artist(Berlioz) in despair. His beloved(Smithson) is represented by a recurring theme known as the idee fixe, which transforms as the story unfolds.

Beethoven was important in Berlioz’ music journey, Beethoven established the Romantic ideal; by reconfiguring the orchestra in order to accommodate his personal emotional expression, Berlioz was inspired by this and couldn’t get enough of it. Symphonie Fantastique is extremely important and one of the signals to the start of the romantic period. The score uses over 90 players, the greatest number of musicians required for any symphony thus far, some of the techniques called for were not
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