Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)

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012008122920100412

Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

Today's programme focuses on a single work, the Messe solennelle, which Berlioz composed at the tender age of 21.

Long thought lost - the composer incinerated the parts after only two performances - the score turned up in 1992 in an oak chest in an Antwerp organ loft, where it had lain unnoticed for over a century, the accidental discovery of a retired music teacher called Frans Moors, who had been hunting for a copy of Mozart's Coronation Mass.

Despite Berlioz's evidently low opinion of it, the Messe solennelle is a remarkable and still relatively little-known work, that bears many hallmarks of the composer's mature style.

Indeed, listeners familiar with the rest of his oeuvre will recognise plenty of passages that Berlioz salvaged from this early work and transplanted into later ones.

Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner explore the music of Berlioz.

In a special series of programmes recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm, Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner explore the music of Hector Berlioz, regarded by many as France's greatest composer.

They focus on a single work, the Messe solennelle, which Berlioz composed at the tender age of 21.

Long thought lost - the composer incinerated the parts after only two performances - the score turned up in 1992 in an oak chest in an Antwerp organ loft, where it had lain unnoticed for over a century.

Excerpt from Tuba mirum (Grande Messe des Morts)

  • Colin Davis (conductor)
  • donna brown (soprano)
  • gilles cachemaille (bass-baritone)
  • jean-luc viala (tenor)
  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • london symphony orchestra
  • monteverdi choir
  • orchestre revolutionnaire et romantique
  • philips 442 137-2 - trs 1-9, 11-14
  • philips 475 7765 - tr 3

    messe solennelle (1824-5) (all parts excluding the offertory motet)

  • 012008122920100412

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    Today's programme focuses on a single work, the Messe solennelle, which Berlioz composed at the tender age of 21.

    Long thought lost - the composer incinerated the parts after only two performances - the score turned up in 1992 in an oak chest in an Antwerp organ loft, where it had lain unnoticed for over a century, the accidental discovery of a retired music teacher called Frans Moors, who had been hunting for a copy of Mozart's Coronation Mass.

    Despite Berlioz's evidently low opinion of it, the Messe solennelle is a remarkable and still relatively little-known work, that bears many hallmarks of the composer's mature style.

    Indeed, listeners familiar with the rest of his oeuvre will recognise plenty of passages that Berlioz salvaged from this early work and transplanted into later ones.

    Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner explore the music of Berlioz.

    In a special series of programmes recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm, Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner explore the music of Hector Berlioz, regarded by many as France's greatest composer.

    They focus on a single work, the Messe solennelle, which Berlioz composed at the tender age of 21.

    Long thought lost - the composer incinerated the parts after only two performances - the score turned up in 1992 in an oak chest in an Antwerp organ loft, where it had lain unnoticed for over a century.

    Excerpt from Tuba mirum (Grande Messe des Morts)

  • Colin Davis (conductor)
  • donna brown (soprano)
  • gilles cachemaille (bass-baritone)
  • jean-luc viala (tenor)
  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • london symphony orchestra
  • monteverdi choir
  • orchestre revolutionnaire et romantique
  • philips 442 137-2 - trs 1-9, 11-14
  • philips 475 7765 - tr 3

    messe solennelle (1824-5) (all parts excluding the offertory motet)

  • 0120120806

    It's a classic tale of the nineteenth century artist... always at odds with the establishment in his native France, lurching from one disastrous romantic entanglement to the next, never quite knowing whether he would stay afloat financially. Nonetheless, Hector Berlioz swept music into the Romantic age almost single-handedly, redefining the nature of the symphony and inventing the modern orchestra. Donald Macleod explores the life and music of the great innovator, beginning with Berlioz's struggles against his parents' disapproval of his choice of career ("folly") and of his wife, Harriet, who disappointed them on four counts: she was an actress, a foreigner, a Protestant - and penniless to boot.

    Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's struggle against his parents' disapproval of his career.

    0120120806

    It's a classic tale of the nineteenth century artist... always at odds with the establishment in his native France, lurching from one disastrous romantic entanglement to the next, never quite knowing whether he would stay afloat financially. Nonetheless, Hector Berlioz swept music into the Romantic age almost single-handedly, redefining the nature of the symphony and inventing the modern orchestra. Donald Macleod explores the life and music of the great innovator, beginning with Berlioz's struggles against his parents' disapproval of his choice of career ("folly") and of his wife, Harriet, who disappointed them on four counts: she was an actress, a foreigner, a Protestant - and penniless to boot.

    Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's struggle against his parents' disapproval of his career.

    01A Childhood Wasted?2014052620150810 (R3)

    Donald Macleod explores the life and work of the quintessential romantic, Hector Berlioz. A friend of Berlioz remarked that "there has probably never been a famous composer whose childhood was wasted in circumstances less favourable to musical development." Berlioz grew up without any significant musical stimulus in his childhood. His father directed him towards a medical career, and it was only after two years of studying medicine in Paris that Berlioz followed his own desires and, without his parents' moral support, proceeded confidently on his course, which was to be far from easy over the next five years, studying at the Paris Conservatoire.

    Donald explores Berlioz's early life, which was without any significant musical stimulus.

    01A Childhood Wasted?2014052620150810 (R3)

    Donald Macleod explores the life and work of the quintessential romantic, Hector Berlioz. A friend of Berlioz remarked that "there has probably never been a famous composer whose childhood was wasted in circumstances less favourable to musical development." Berlioz grew up without any significant musical stimulus in his childhood. His father directed him towards a medical career, and it was only after two years of studying medicine in Paris that Berlioz followed his own desires and, without his parents' moral support, proceeded confidently on his course, which was to be far from easy over the next five years, studying at the Paris Conservatoire.

    Donald explores Berlioz's early life, which was without any significant musical stimulus.

    022008123020100413

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    Today's programme explores two of Berlioz's symphonies - Harold in Italy and Romeo and Juliet.

    But are they really symphonies?

    Harold includes a part for solo viola, which suggests a concerto; but it's more like a 'song without words', evoking the spirit of Byron's Childe Harold, than a true concerto role.

    That's certainly what Paganini thought - he commissioned Berlioz to write it in the first place, then lost interest when he realised that it wasn't going to allow him sufficient scope to show off.

    And Romeo, with its voices, its chorus, and its plot, is as much a concert opera as it is a symphony, closely following the action of the Shakespeare play that had knocked the composer's socks off when he saw it in September 1827.

    Like a pioneering horticulturalist, Berlioz created new musical hybrids to suit his present purpose; no wonder that some of his contemporaries were confused.

    But in the process he created some of the most thrilling, dramatic and beautiful music of the 19th century.

    Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner explore two of Berlioz's symphonies.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    They explore two of Berlioz's symphonies - Harold in Italy and Romeo and Juliet.

    That's certainly what Paganini thought: he commissioned Berlioz to write it but then lost interest when he realised that it was not going to allow him sufficient scope to show off.

    And Romeo, with its voices, its chorus and its plot, is as much a concert opera as it is a symphony, closely following the action of the Shakespeare play that amazed the composer when he saw it in September 1827.

    Like a pioneering horticulturalist, Berlioz created new musical hybrids to suit his present purpose, so no wonder that some of his contemporaries were confused.

    Ecot de joyeux compagnons (Histoire d'un rat) (Huit scenes de Faust, Op 1)

  • catherine robbin (mezzo-soprano)
  • charles dutoit (conductor)
  • decca 475 097-2 tr 4

    harold aux montagnes (harold in italy, 1st mvt)

  • gerard causse (viola)
  • gilles cachemaille (bass-baritone)
  • jean-paul fouchecourt (tenor)
  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • monteverdi choir
  • montreal symphony chorus and orchestra
  • orchestre revolutionnaire et romantique
  • philip cokorinos (baritone)
  • philips 446 676-2 tr 1

    romeo seul; scene d'amour (romeo et juliette, op 17)

  • philips 454 454-2 cd 2 trs 9, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

  • 022008123020100413

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    Today's programme explores two of Berlioz's symphonies - Harold in Italy and Romeo and Juliet.

    But are they really symphonies?

    Harold includes a part for solo viola, which suggests a concerto; but it's more like a 'song without words', evoking the spirit of Byron's Childe Harold, than a true concerto role.

    That's certainly what Paganini thought - he commissioned Berlioz to write it in the first place, then lost interest when he realised that it wasn't going to allow him sufficient scope to show off.

    And Romeo, with its voices, its chorus, and its plot, is as much a concert opera as it is a symphony, closely following the action of the Shakespeare play that had knocked the composer's socks off when he saw it in September 1827.

    Like a pioneering horticulturalist, Berlioz created new musical hybrids to suit his present purpose; no wonder that some of his contemporaries were confused.

    But in the process he created some of the most thrilling, dramatic and beautiful music of the 19th century.

    Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner explore two of Berlioz's symphonies.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    They explore two of Berlioz's symphonies - Harold in Italy and Romeo and Juliet.

    That's certainly what Paganini thought: he commissioned Berlioz to write it but then lost interest when he realised that it was not going to allow him sufficient scope to show off.

    And Romeo, with its voices, its chorus and its plot, is as much a concert opera as it is a symphony, closely following the action of the Shakespeare play that amazed the composer when he saw it in September 1827.

    Like a pioneering horticulturalist, Berlioz created new musical hybrids to suit his present purpose, so no wonder that some of his contemporaries were confused.

    Ecot de joyeux compagnons (Histoire d'un rat) (Huit scenes de Faust, Op 1)

  • catherine robbin (mezzo-soprano)
  • charles dutoit (conductor)
  • decca 475 097-2 tr 4

    harold aux montagnes (harold in italy, 1st mvt)

  • gerard causse (viola)
  • gilles cachemaille (bass-baritone)
  • jean-paul fouchecourt (tenor)
  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • monteverdi choir
  • montreal symphony chorus and orchestra
  • orchestre revolutionnaire et romantique
  • philip cokorinos (baritone)
  • philips 446 676-2 tr 1

    romeo seul; scene d'amour (romeo et juliette, op 17)

  • philips 454 454-2 cd 2 trs 9, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

  • 0220120807

    Donald Macleod on how Berlioz's time spent in Italy made its presence felt in his music.

    At his fourth attempt, Berlioz finally won the prestigious Prix de Rome. The good news was the substantial financial package, plus free entry to every opera house in Europe. The bad news was a compulsory two year stay in Rome, studying at the Villa Medici. Berlioz, whose love life was rather fragile at the time, didn't want to go at all, and when he got there did very little composition and lots of complaining. Nevertheless, his time in Italy made its presence felt in his music throughout his life. Donald Macleod investigates.

    0220120807

    Donald Macleod on how Berlioz's time spent in Italy made its presence felt in his music.

    At his fourth attempt, Berlioz finally won the prestigious Prix de Rome. The good news was the substantial financial package, plus free entry to every opera house in Europe. The bad news was a compulsory two year stay in Rome, studying at the Villa Medici. Berlioz, whose love life was rather fragile at the time, didn't want to go at all, and when he got there did very little composition and lots of complaining. Nevertheless, his time in Italy made its presence felt in his music throughout his life. Donald Macleod investigates.

    02The Romantic Idealist2014052720150811 (R3)

    "My whole life," Berlioz wrote, "has been one long ardent pursuit of an ideal which I created myself." In this programme, Donald Macleod explores the music that resulted from Berlioz's romantic idealism, including his falling in love, precociously, at the age of 12; and later, in what he called "the grand drama of my life," his overwhelming infatuation with the young Irish actress Harriet Smithson, an infatuation which would produce two of his genre-defying works, Symphonie Fantastique and Lélio, or the Return to Life.

    Donald Macleod explores the music that resulted from Berlioz's romantic idealism.

    02The Romantic Idealist2014052720150811 (R3)

    Donald Macleod explores the music that resulted from Berlioz's romantic idealism.

    "My whole life," Berlioz wrote, "has been one long ardent pursuit of an ideal which I created myself." In this programme, Donald Macleod explores the music that resulted from Berlioz's romantic idealism, including his falling in love, precociously, at the age of 12; and later, in what he called "the grand drama of my life," his overwhelming infatuation with the young Irish actress Harriet Smithson, an infatuation which would produce two of his genre-defying works, Symphonie Fantastique and Lélio, or the Return to Life.

    032008123120100414

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    Today's programme explores Berlioz the song writer - and discovers that Berlioz the song writer is really just another aspect of Berlioz the dramatist.

    All of Berlioz's music is essentially dramatic.

    Often, incidents in his own life are seen through the filter of literature - Shakespeare, Goethe, Virgil - then converted into music, whether symphonic, vocal or operatic.

    Irlande, a collection of nine songs to poems by the Irish writer Thomas Moore, is a case in point.

    At the time, he was still reeling from the double impact of Shakespeare and Harriet Smithson - the Shakespearean heroine and future Mrs Berlioz.

    He happened to pick up a copy of Moore's poems, with their atmosphere of heroism and patriotism, all steeped in the soft glow of Celtic romance, and it proved to be perfect material for him, besotted with his passion for the beautiful Irish actress.

    Les Nuits d't, 'Summer Nights', sets poems from the collection The Comedy of Death by Berlioz's friend Thophile Gautier, and again they seem to reflect the emotional turmoil he was going through when he wrote them - the period when his flesh-and-blood relationship with the idealised Harriet was irretrievably breaking down.

    They're best known as an orchestral song-cycle - in fact, as the first ever orchestral song-cycle; another Berlioz 'first' - but they're presented here in the rarely played but magnificent version for voice and piano.

    Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner explore Berlioz the song writer.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    They explore Berlioz the song writer and discover that Berlioz the song writer is really just another aspect of Berlioz the dramatist.

    All Berlioz's music is essentially dramatic.

    He happened to pick up a copy of Moore's poems, with their atmosphere of heroism and patriotism, all steeped in the soft glow of Celtic romance, and it proved to be perfect material for him, besotted with his passion for the beautiful Irish actress.

  • elegie
  • emi 5 55047 2 trs 3, 1, 5

    les nuits d'ete (piano version)

  • emi cdc 7 49288 2 trs 1-6
  • geoffrey parsons (piano)
  • jean-phlippe collard (piano)
  • jose van dam (baritone)
  • la belle voyageuse
  • le coucher du soleil
  • les nuits d'ete (summer nights) sets poems from the collection the comedy of death by berlioz's friend theophile gautier, and again they seem to reflect the emotional turmoil he was going through when he wrote them - the period when his flesh-and-blood relationship with the idealised harriet was irretrievably breaking down.

    they are best known as an orchestral song-cycle - in fact, as the first ever orchestral song-cycle: another berlioz first.

    but they are presented here in the rarely played but magnificent version for voice and piano.

    zaide

  • louis langree (conductor)
  • orchestre de l'opera national de lyon
  • thomas hampson (baritone)
  • veronique gens (soprano)
  • villanelle; le spectre de la rose; sur les lagunes (lamento); absence; au cimetiere (clair de lune); l'ile inconnue
  • virgin 5 45422 tr 10

    3 songs from neuf melodies (later titled irlande)

  • 032008123120100414

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    Today's programme explores Berlioz the song writer - and discovers that Berlioz the song writer is really just another aspect of Berlioz the dramatist.

    All of Berlioz's music is essentially dramatic.

    Often, incidents in his own life are seen through the filter of literature - Shakespeare, Goethe, Virgil - then converted into music, whether symphonic, vocal or operatic.

    Irlande, a collection of nine songs to poems by the Irish writer Thomas Moore, is a case in point.

    At the time, he was still reeling from the double impact of Shakespeare and Harriet Smithson - the Shakespearean heroine and future Mrs Berlioz.

    He happened to pick up a copy of Moore's poems, with their atmosphere of heroism and patriotism, all steeped in the soft glow of Celtic romance, and it proved to be perfect material for him, besotted with his passion for the beautiful Irish actress.

    Les Nuits d't, 'Summer Nights', sets poems from the collection The Comedy of Death by Berlioz's friend Thophile Gautier, and again they seem to reflect the emotional turmoil he was going through when he wrote them - the period when his flesh-and-blood relationship with the idealised Harriet was irretrievably breaking down.

    They're best known as an orchestral song-cycle - in fact, as the first ever orchestral song-cycle; another Berlioz 'first' - but they're presented here in the rarely played but magnificent version for voice and piano.

    Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner explore Berlioz the song writer.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    They explore Berlioz the song writer and discover that Berlioz the song writer is really just another aspect of Berlioz the dramatist.

    All Berlioz's music is essentially dramatic.

    He happened to pick up a copy of Moore's poems, with their atmosphere of heroism and patriotism, all steeped in the soft glow of Celtic romance, and it proved to be perfect material for him, besotted with his passion for the beautiful Irish actress.

  • elegie
  • emi 5 55047 2 trs 3, 1, 5

    les nuits d'ete (piano version)

  • emi cdc 7 49288 2 trs 1-6
  • geoffrey parsons (piano)
  • jean-phlippe collard (piano)
  • jose van dam (baritone)
  • la belle voyageuse
  • le coucher du soleil
  • les nuits d'ete (summer nights) sets poems from the collection the comedy of death by berlioz's friend theophile gautier, and again they seem to reflect the emotional turmoil he was going through when he wrote them - the period when his flesh-and-blood relationship with the idealised harriet was irretrievably breaking down.

    they are best known as an orchestral song-cycle - in fact, as the first ever orchestral song-cycle: another berlioz first.

    but they are presented here in the rarely played but magnificent version for voice and piano.

    zaide

  • louis langree (conductor)
  • orchestre de l'opera national de lyon
  • thomas hampson (baritone)
  • veronique gens (soprano)
  • villanelle; le spectre de la rose; sur les lagunes (lamento); absence; au cimetiere (clair de lune); l'ile inconnue
  • virgin 5 45422 tr 10

    3 songs from neuf melodies (later titled irlande)

  • 0320120808

    Donald Macleod introduces extracts from three symphonies by Berlioz - each one radically different from the others. And we hear about the relationships he had with some of his fellow artists in nineteenth century Paris, including Paganini and Wagner.

    Donald Macleod introduces excerpts from three radically different Berlioz symphonies.

    0320120808

    Donald Macleod introduces extracts from three symphonies by Berlioz - each one radically different from the others. And we hear about the relationships he had with some of his fellow artists in nineteenth century Paris, including Paganini and Wagner.

    Donald Macleod introduces excerpts from three radically different Berlioz symphonies.

    03Shakespeare20140528

    Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's fascination with Shakespeare.

    After his first encounter with Shakespeare's Hamlet, which he recognised as the supreme turning point of his life, Hector Berlioz emerged from the theatre reeling, vowing not to expose himself a second time "to the flame of Shakespeare's genius." But when he saw the playbills advertising Romeo and Juliet a few days later, he simply couldn't stay away. He bought a seat in the stalls. As he said himself: "My fate was doubly sealed." Hector Berlioz remained enraptured by Shakespeare all his life. In this programme, Donald Macleod explores this fascination, including his King Lear overture and the "dramatic symphony" Romeo and Juliet.

    Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's fascination with the Shakespeare.

    03Shakespeare20140528

    Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's fascination with the Shakespeare.

    Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's fascination with Shakespeare.

    After his first encounter with Shakespeare's Hamlet, which he recognised as the supreme turning point of his life, Hector Berlioz emerged from the theatre reeling, vowing not to expose himself a second time "to the flame of Shakespeare's genius." But when he saw the playbills advertising Romeo and Juliet a few days later, he simply couldn't stay away. He bought a seat in the stalls. As he said himself: "My fate was doubly sealed." Hector Berlioz remained enraptured by Shakespeare all his life. In this programme, Donald Macleod explores this fascination, including his King Lear overture and the "dramatic symphony" Romeo and Juliet.

    0420090101

    Donald Macleod explores the poetic vein of death and melancholy in Berlioz's output.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    They explore the poetic vein of death and melancholy running through Berlioz's output - on the face of it, a somewhat gloomy line of enquiry, but in fact one that brings together an astonishing variety of reflections on mortality.

    On Berlioz's third attempt to win the coveted Prix de Rome in 1829, he was thought to be a shoo-in.

    But rather than submitting a safe, conventional piece designed to impress the academic judges, he produced a highly original work that was held by the judiciary to 'betray dangerous tendencies'.

    That work was The Death of Cleopatra.

    Barely a decade later, Berlioz was considered sufficiently part of the French musical establishment to be commissioned to write music for a grand ceremony to mark the tenth anniversary of the July Revolution.

    In response, he composed what he called his Grande symphonie funebre et triomphale, scored for a huge military band of 200 players.

    The programme concludes with Tristia (Sad Things), a title borrowed from Ovid and a triptych of reflective pieces including the well-known Death of Ophelia and the less well-known Funeral March for the Final Scene of Hamlet.

    La mort de Cleopatre

  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • john wallace (conductor)
  • louis langree (conductor)
  • monteverdi choir
  • nimbus ni 5175 tr 1

    meditation religieuse; la mort d'ophelie; marche funebre pour la derniere scene d'hamlet (tristia)

  • orchestre de l'opera national de lyon
  • orchestre revolutionnaire et romantique
  • philips 446 676-2 trs 5-7
  • veronique gens (soprano)
  • virgin 5 45422 tr 10

    marche funebre (grand symphonie funebre et triomphale, 1st mvt)

  • wallace collection

  • 0420090101

    Donald Macleod explores the poetic vein of death and melancholy in Berlioz's output.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    They explore the poetic vein of death and melancholy running through Berlioz's output - on the face of it, a somewhat gloomy line of enquiry, but in fact one that brings together an astonishing variety of reflections on mortality.

    On Berlioz's third attempt to win the coveted Prix de Rome in 1829, he was thought to be a shoo-in.

    But rather than submitting a safe, conventional piece designed to impress the academic judges, he produced a highly original work that was held by the judiciary to 'betray dangerous tendencies'.

    That work was The Death of Cleopatra.

    Barely a decade later, Berlioz was considered sufficiently part of the French musical establishment to be commissioned to write music for a grand ceremony to mark the tenth anniversary of the July Revolution.

    In response, he composed what he called his Grande symphonie funebre et triomphale, scored for a huge military band of 200 players.

    The programme concludes with Tristia (Sad Things), a title borrowed from Ovid and a triptych of reflective pieces including the well-known Death of Ophelia and the less well-known Funeral March for the Final Scene of Hamlet.

    La mort de Cleopatre

  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • john wallace (conductor)
  • louis langree (conductor)
  • monteverdi choir
  • nimbus ni 5175 tr 1

    meditation religieuse; la mort d'ophelie; marche funebre pour la derniere scene d'hamlet (tristia)

  • orchestre de l'opera national de lyon
  • orchestre revolutionnaire et romantique
  • philips 446 676-2 trs 5-7
  • veronique gens (soprano)
  • virgin 5 45422 tr 10

    marche funebre (grand symphonie funebre et triomphale, 1st mvt)

  • wallace collection

  • 042009010720100415

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    Today's programme explores the poetic vein of death and melancholy running through Berlioz's output - on the face of it a somewhat gloomy line of enquiry, but in fact one that brings together an astonishing variety of reflections on mortality.

    On Berlioz's third attempt to win the coveted Prix de Rome in 1829, he was thought to be a shoo-in.

    In fact, he blew it.

    Rather than submitting a 'safe', conventional piece designed to impress the academic judges, he produced a highly original work that was held by the judiciary to 'betray dangerous tendencies'.

    That work was The Death of Cleopatra, and the prize was not awarded.

    Barely a decade later, Berlioz was considered sufficiently part of the French musical establishment to be commissioned to write music for a grand ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the July Revolution.

    In response he composed what he called his Grande Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale, scored for a huge military band of 200 players.

    In the event, despite careful rehearsal the day before and the huge sound made by so many musicians, the noise of the crowds was such that hardly a note of the music was heard.

    The programme ends with Tristia - 'Sad Things', a title borrowed from Ovid.

    It's a triptych of reflective pieces including the well-known Death of Ophelia and the less well-known Funeral March for the Final Scene of Hamlet.

    Listeners of a nervous disposition should be alerted to the volley of musket fire at the climax of the piece - a musical counterpart to Fortinbras's speech: 'Go bid the soldiers' shoot!'.

    Donald Macleod explores the poetic vein of death and melancholy in Berlioz's output.

    042009010720100415

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    Today's programme explores the poetic vein of death and melancholy running through Berlioz's output - on the face of it a somewhat gloomy line of enquiry, but in fact one that brings together an astonishing variety of reflections on mortality.

    On Berlioz's third attempt to win the coveted Prix de Rome in 1829, he was thought to be a shoo-in.

    In fact, he blew it.

    Rather than submitting a 'safe', conventional piece designed to impress the academic judges, he produced a highly original work that was held by the judiciary to 'betray dangerous tendencies'.

    That work was The Death of Cleopatra, and the prize was not awarded.

    Barely a decade later, Berlioz was considered sufficiently part of the French musical establishment to be commissioned to write music for a grand ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the July Revolution.

    In response he composed what he called his Grande Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale, scored for a huge military band of 200 players.

    In the event, despite careful rehearsal the day before and the huge sound made by so many musicians, the noise of the crowds was such that hardly a note of the music was heard.

    The programme ends with Tristia - 'Sad Things', a title borrowed from Ovid.

    It's a triptych of reflective pieces including the well-known Death of Ophelia and the less well-known Funeral March for the Final Scene of Hamlet.

    Listeners of a nervous disposition should be alerted to the volley of musket fire at the climax of the piece - a musical counterpart to Fortinbras's speech: 'Go bid the soldiers' shoot!'.

    Donald Macleod explores the poetic vein of death and melancholy in Berlioz's output.

    0420120809

    On the morning of 4th September 1842, Harriet Smithson (Berlioz's wife) woke up to find that her husband had gone off on tour while she slept, leaving her with their 8 year old son. Berlioz was away for five months, and this was just the first of many international trips. Donald Macleod tells the story of Berlioz's extensive wanderings around Europe, as he tried to make a living as a composer and conductor, and to drum up interest in his music.

    Donald Macleod tells the story of Berlioz's extensive wanderings around Europe.

    0420120809

    On the morning of 4th September 1842, Harriet Smithson (Berlioz's wife) woke up to find that her husband had gone off on tour while she slept, leaving her with their 8 year old son. Berlioz was away for five months, and this was just the first of many international trips. Donald Macleod tells the story of Berlioz's extensive wanderings around Europe, as he tried to make a living as a composer and conductor, and to drum up interest in his music.

    Donald Macleod tells the story of Berlioz's extensive wanderings around Europe.

    04Encounters With England2014052920150813 (R3)

    After a series of commercial failures in his native France, Hector Berlioz resolved, "there is nothing to be done in this ghastly country and I can't leave it quickly enough." He first headed north and east, to St. Petersburg, and not long afterwards made his first trip to Britain. In this programme Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's experiences and achievements in England.

    Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's experiences and achievements in England.

    After a series of commercial failures in his native France, Hector Berlioz resolved, "there is nothing to be done in this ghastly country and I can't leave it quickly enough." He first headed north, to St. Petersburg, and not long afterwards made his first trip to Britain. In this programme Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's experiences and achievements in England.

    04Encounters With England2014052920150813 (R3)

    Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's experiences and achievements in England.

    After a series of commercial failures in his native France, Hector Berlioz resolved, "there is nothing to be done in this ghastly country and I can't leave it quickly enough." He first headed north, to St. Petersburg, and not long afterwards made his first trip to Britain. In this programme Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's experiences and achievements in England.

    After a series of commercial failures in his native France, Hector Berlioz resolved, "there is nothing to be done in this ghastly country and I can't leave it quickly enough." He first headed north and east, to St. Petersburg, and not long afterwards made his first trip to Britain. In this programme Donald Macleod explores Berlioz's experiences and achievements in England.

    05The Bitter End20140530
    05The Bitter End20140530

    05The Bitter End2014053020150814 (R3)

    Donald Macleod explores the bitter final years of Hector Berlioz, when, troubled by ill health and a continued poor reception for his music in France he was moved to write in his Memoirs: "I am alone. My contempt for the folly and baseness of mankind, my hatred of its atrocious cruelty, have never been so intense. And I say hourly to death: 'When you will.' Why does he delay?".

    05The Bitter End2014053020150814 (R3)

    Donald Macleod explores the bitter final years of Hector Berlioz, when, troubled by ill health and a continued poor reception for his music in France he was moved to write in his Memoirs: "I am alone. My contempt for the folly and baseness of mankind, my hatred of its atrocious cruelty, have never been so intense. And I say hourly to death: 'When you will.' Why does he delay?".

    05 LAST20090102

    Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner focus on Berlioz's gargantuan opera Les Troyens.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    They focus on what many consider to be the summit of Berlioz's achievement - his gargantuan opera Les Troyens.

    This is thanks to the influence of Dr Berlioz, who infected his young son with a love for the tales of towering passion, of gods and goddesses, of heroes and villains of Virgil's Aeneid - he even named him Hector.

    The programme features three excerpts from this four-hour epic.

    Two of them focus on the opera's key couples, Cassandra and Chorebus, and Dido and Aeneas, all of them doomed except for Aeneas, who eventually sails off into the sunset for his date with destiny - the founding of Rome.

    The third is the famous Trojan March from the end of Act 1.

    John Eliot Gardiner's recording is the only one to feature the original saxhorns demanded by the score, and he relates how he tracked down a complete set in the private collection of a retired Parisian railway worker, whose apartment near the Gare du Nord was hung from floor to ceiling with historic brass instruments.

    Aria: Malheureux roi!; Duet: C'est lui!; Cavatina: Reviens a toi, vierge adoree; Pauvre ame egaree!; Si tu m'aimes, va-t'en; Mais le ciel et la terre; Quitte-nous des ce soir (Les Troyens, Act 1)

  • aeneas....gregory kunde
  • anna....renata pokupic
  • ascanius....stephanie d'oustrac
  • cassandra....anna caterina antonacci
  • choeur du theatre du chatelet
  • chorebus....ludovic tezier
  • dido....Susan Graham
  • iopas....mark padmore
  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • mercury....rene schirrer
  • narbal....laurent naouri
  • oa 0900 d dvd 1 trs 4-6

    du roi des dieux o! fils aimee (trojan march) (les troyens)

  • opus arte
  • opus arte oa 0900 d dvd 2 trs 10-12
  • opus oa 0900 d dvd 1 tr 14

    les troyens (act 4, sc 2)

  • orchestre revolutionnaire et romantique
  • panthus....nicolas teste
  • recitative and quintet: pardonne, iopas (dido, aeneas); o pudeur! tout conspire (dido, aeneas, anna, iopas, narbal); recitative and septet: mais bannissons ces tristes souvenirs (aeneas); tout n'est que paix et charme (dido, aeneas, ascanius, anna, iopas, narbal, panthus, chorus); duet: nuit d'ivresse et d'extase infinie! (dido, aeneas, mercury)

  • 05 LAST20090102

    Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner focus on Berlioz's gargantuan opera Les Troyens.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    They focus on what many consider to be the summit of Berlioz's achievement - his gargantuan opera Les Troyens.

    This is thanks to the influence of Dr Berlioz, who infected his young son with a love for the tales of towering passion, of gods and goddesses, of heroes and villains of Virgil's Aeneid - he even named him Hector.

    The programme features three excerpts from this four-hour epic.

    Two of them focus on the opera's key couples, Cassandra and Chorebus, and Dido and Aeneas, all of them doomed except for Aeneas, who eventually sails off into the sunset for his date with destiny - the founding of Rome.

    The third is the famous Trojan March from the end of Act 1.

    John Eliot Gardiner's recording is the only one to feature the original saxhorns demanded by the score, and he relates how he tracked down a complete set in the private collection of a retired Parisian railway worker, whose apartment near the Gare du Nord was hung from floor to ceiling with historic brass instruments.

    Aria: Malheureux roi!; Duet: C'est lui!; Cavatina: Reviens a toi, vierge adoree; Pauvre ame egaree!; Si tu m'aimes, va-t'en; Mais le ciel et la terre; Quitte-nous des ce soir (Les Troyens, Act 1)

  • aeneas....gregory kunde
  • anna....renata pokupic
  • ascanius....stephanie d'oustrac
  • cassandra....anna caterina antonacci
  • choeur du theatre du chatelet
  • chorebus....ludovic tezier
  • dido....Susan Graham
  • iopas....mark padmore
  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • mercury....rene schirrer
  • narbal....laurent naouri
  • oa 0900 d dvd 1 trs 4-6

    du roi des dieux o! fils aimee (trojan march) (les troyens)

  • opus arte
  • opus arte oa 0900 d dvd 2 trs 10-12
  • opus oa 0900 d dvd 1 tr 14

    les troyens (act 4, sc 2)

  • orchestre revolutionnaire et romantique
  • panthus....nicolas teste
  • recitative and quintet: pardonne, iopas (dido, aeneas); o pudeur! tout conspire (dido, aeneas, anna, iopas, narbal); recitative and septet: mais bannissons ces tristes souvenirs (aeneas); tout n'est que paix et charme (dido, aeneas, ascanius, anna, iopas, narbal, panthus, chorus); duet: nuit d'ivresse et d'extase infinie! (dido, aeneas, mercury)

  • 05 LAST2009011420100416

    Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner focus on Berlioz's gargantuan opera Les Troyens.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    Today's programme, the last of the week, is devoted to what many consider to be the summit of Berlioz's achievement - his gargantuan opera Les Troyens.

    And here we must be thankful for the influence of Dr Berlioz, who infected his son, as a young boy, with a love for the tales of towering passion, of gods and goddesses, of heroes and villains of Virgil's Aeneid - he even named him Hector.

    The programme features three extracts from this four-hour epic.

    Two of them focus on the opera's key couples, Cassandra and Chorebus, and Dido and Aeneas - all of them ultimately doomed except for Aeneas, who eventually sails off into the sunset for his date with destiny - the founding of Rome.

    The third extract is the famous 'Trojan March' from the end of Act I.

    John Eliot Gardiner's recording is the only one to feature the original saxhorns demanded by the score, and he relates how he tracked down a complete set in the private collection of a retired Parisian railway worker, whose apartment near the Gare du Nord was hung from floor to ceiling with historic brass instruments.

    The sound they make is quite extraordinary.

    05 LAST2009011420100416

    Donald Macleod and John Eliot Gardiner focus on Berlioz's gargantuan opera Les Troyens.

    Donald Macleod explores the music of Hector Berlioz in conversation with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in this Composer of the Week 'special' recorded at the celebrated conductor's Dorset farm.

    For Gardiner, Berlioz is perhaps the greatest of French composers, and he speaks with a lifetime's experience of studying and performing this remarkable music.

    Today's programme, the last of the week, is devoted to what many consider to be the summit of Berlioz's achievement - his gargantuan opera Les Troyens.

    And here we must be thankful for the influence of Dr Berlioz, who infected his son, as a young boy, with a love for the tales of towering passion, of gods and goddesses, of heroes and villains of Virgil's Aeneid - he even named him Hector.

    The programme features three extracts from this four-hour epic.

    Two of them focus on the opera's key couples, Cassandra and Chorebus, and Dido and Aeneas - all of them ultimately doomed except for Aeneas, who eventually sails off into the sunset for his date with destiny - the founding of Rome.

    The third extract is the famous 'Trojan March' from the end of Act I.

    John Eliot Gardiner's recording is the only one to feature the original saxhorns demanded by the score, and he relates how he tracked down a complete set in the private collection of a retired Parisian railway worker, whose apartment near the Gare du Nord was hung from floor to ceiling with historic brass instruments.

    The sound they make is quite extraordinary.

    05 LAST20120810

    Donald Macleod tells tales of Berlioz's trips to London. Things started well, but quickly deteriorated. One minute Berlioz was the darling of the opera-going public, the next he was having to plead with bailiffs to let him keep his clothes...

    Donald Macleod on Berlioz's trips to London. Things started well, but soon deteriorated.

    05 LAST20120810

    Donald Macleod tells tales of Berlioz's trips to London. Things started well, but quickly deteriorated. One minute Berlioz was the darling of the opera-going public, the next he was having to plead with bailiffs to let him keep his clothes.

    Donald Macleod on Berlioz's trips to London. Things started well, but soon deteriorated.

    05 LASTThe Bitter End20140530

    Donald Macleod explores the bitter final years of Hector Berlioz.

    Donald Macleod explores the bitter final years of Hector Berlioz, when, troubled by ill health and a continued poor reception for his music in France he was moved to write in his Memoirs: "I am alone. My contempt for the folly and baseness of mankind, my hatred of its atrocious cruelty, have never been so intense. And I say hourly to death: 'When you will.' Why does he delay?".

    05 LASTThe Bitter End20140530

    Donald Macleod explores the bitter final years of Hector Berlioz.

    Donald Macleod explores the bitter final years of Hector Berlioz, when, troubled by ill health and a continued poor reception for his music in France he was moved to write in his Memoirs: "I am alone. My contempt for the folly and baseness of mankind, my hatred of its atrocious cruelty, have never been so intense. And I say hourly to death: 'When you will.' Why does he delay?".