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Hector Berlioz

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A renowned French orchestrator and composer of "Symphonie fantastique" (1830) and opera, vocal, and choral music. Berlioz continued to influence romantics through the late 19th and early 20th centuries with monumental yet graceful orchestrations. He was the embodiment of the romantic sensibility -- idealism, a tendency toward pastoral reverie and the macabre, infatuation with the ideal lover (as reflected in the recurrent "theme of the beloved" in the "Symphonie fantastique"), and a wild, Byronesque lifestyle (the "Symphonie" is built around a program based on DeQuincey's "Confessions of an English Opium Eater"). A great love of nature infuses "Harold in Italy," and great terror and grandeur is expressed in his "Te Deum." He revived pure modal tonalities from French folk music, combining them with the turbulence of chromaticism to express the spirit of his revolutionary age. One of the greatest of all melodies, "D'amour l'ardente flamme" ("The ardent flame of love"), occurs within a landscape of dramatic gesture in "La Damnation de Faust." ~ Blue Gene Tyranny

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Birth Name:

Louis-Hector Berlioz


December 11, 1803 in La Côte-St.-André, Isère, France

Years Active: