Catalogue Code: 782082
Release Date: 22 Aug 2011
Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) has been referred to as the "Volcano under the Romantics". He was indeed one of the most flamboyant personalities among the group of artists, who initiated a romantic movement, known as "Jeune France", in Paris round about 1830. This extremely revolutionary group had a number of supporters and adherents among writers, artists and musicians, who sought to supplant the stricter classical forms by works of art, in which they paid sole obeisance to the dictates of their emotions. The great pioneering music work in this romantic field was the "Symphonie fantastique", which Berlioz completed in 1830. The composer sub-titled this orchestral work in five movements "Episodes in the life of an artist", each of which tells a story of its own. I. Rêveries - Passions The first movement of the "Symphonie fantastique" - "Reveries - "Passions" - consists of two episodes. The solemn introduction (Largo) acquaints the listener with the young artist's ethereal frame of mind. This slow introduction paves the way for the second episode "Allegro agitato e appassionato assai". II. Un bal "A ball" The artist seeks solace from the torments of his mind in the pleasures and whirl of excitement of the dance. III. Scène aux champs "Scenes in the country". The artist turns for solace again to the vast spaciousness and quietude of the countryside. There, amidst a deserted landscape, he listens to two distant shepherds in a question and answer dialogue on their pipes (cor anglais and oboe). IV. Marche au supplice "March to the scaffold": Having realized that his love will never be returned, the artist takes poison. Apparently, the dose was insufficient to end his life, for he falls unconscious, only to be haunted by the most dreadful nightmares. V. Songe d'une nuit de Sabbat "Dream of a witches' Sabbath". The artist finds himself transported into the underworld, surrounded by hideous spectres, witches and ghoulish monsters assuming all kinds of macabre forms. The symphony concludes in an awe-inspiring, sombre climax.
1. Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: I. Reveries/ Passions
2. Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: II. Un Bal!
3. Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: III. Scene Aux Champs
4. Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: IV. Marche Au Supplice
5. Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14: V. Songs D'une Nuit De Sabbat