THE BERLIOZ SOCIETY
The Berlioz Society is a Registered Charity No. 1124443
-- Who we are -- The Berlioz Society - a non-profit-making organisation of persons with an interest in and a love of the music of the great French composer Hector Berlioz (1803 -1869) - is a registered Charity. Chaired by David Cairns, author of the definitive two-volume life of Berlioz, the Society has an international membership including Professor Hugh Macdonald, editor of the New Berlioz Edition. -- What we do -- The Society's aim is to increase the public's awareness of the life and works of Berlioz, this great composer, especially the lesser known works. To this end the Society organises meetings, weekends, conferences and publications, and other events.
-- Members' Page -- Members of The Berlioz Society may access a page with information only available to members by following the instructions in their copy of the Society's Bulletin. -------ooooooo0000000ooooooo------- --- About Berlioz --- The author Victor Hugo, the painter Eugène Delacroix and the composer Hector Berlioz were the troika of the French Romantic Movement of the 19th century. Heavily influenced by Gluck, Weber and Beethoven, Berlioz (1803-69) spearheaded the romantic movement in music, writing some of the first programme music, introducing choirs, vocal soloists, the harp and the saxophone - the invention of his Belgian friend Adolphe Sax - permanently into the symphony orchestra, experimenting with "stereo" and offstage acoustical effects, inventing the 'idée fixe' - a recurring short melodic strain signifying a person or obsession - forerunner of Wagner's 'leitmotiv' - and creating the modern orchestra. A great conductor, orchestrator, journalist, music critic and writer, Berlioz only played the guitar and the flute, the orchestra being his instrument. He composed about 150 works, notably four symphonies, three operas, a requiem and two masses as well as song cycles, cantatas, concert overtures, Hungary's national anthem and a rumbustious reworking of France's "Marseillaise". His best known work is the autobiographical Symphonie fantastique (1830) - in which the 'idée fixe' - representing the composer's passion for the Irish Shakespearean actress Harriet Smithson - plays a major role. After years of being considered an eccentric outsider in classical music, Berlioz is now recognised as a true original and one of the greatest innovators ever. Even his detractors have always had to concede his supremacy as an orchestrator, but now, with all his large scale works available on recordings, his great melodic gifts and unique compositional imagination are in the public arena for all to appreciate. In addition, his writings display the warmth and wit of his personality and his immense critical intelligence, showing him to be one of the most engaging of the great composers. The influence of Berlioz on later composers can hardly be exaggerated. To cite but one example, in his "Portrait of Elgar", second edition (1982) p. 218, Michael Kennedy says of the "Canto popolare" episode in the concert overture 'In the South - Alassio' "This haunting melody, original and so Elgarian, but Italian in spirit, is given to the solo viola as a salute to Berlioz from ‘Edward in Italy’." "Which of these two powers, love or music, can elevate man to the sublimest heights? Why separate them? They are the two wings of the soul." Hector Berlioz 1803–1869
Nevertheless, he did have his critics:- "He makes me really sad, because he is actually a cultured, agreeable man and yet he composes so incredibly badly." Felix Mendelssohn in a letter to his family in 1831, after meeting Berlioz in Rome. However, he did recollect that he found Berlioz:- " - - that quiet, friendly, thoughtful person, going his way calmly and confidently . . . deaf to any outside criticism in his determination to follow only his inner inspiration."
More about Berlioz:-
-------ooooooo0000000ooooooo------- NOTICES Thirteenth Annual Berlioz Society Weekend 28 and 29 November 2015 The Art Workers’ Guild 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT Berlioz the Writer Although often a source of frustration to their author – who saw journalism as a hindrance to his musical ambitions – Berlioz’s writings are every bit as much a part of his artistic legacy as his compositions. His personality, simultaneously cynical, idealistic and irrepressible, runs through them all, in prose alternately thoughtful and fizzing with wit. Most famous among his books are the Mémoires, an autobiography showing a self-awareness worthy of Pepys, candidly describing his triumphs and disasters, his loves and his clashes with mindless authority. Les Soirées de l’Orchestre shows us the range of his imagination, pulling together articles and essays that warn us of the perils of laughing at Weber's Der Freischütz, evoke the magic of Paganini and the terror of a piano that can learn by repetition and ultimately reveal the ideal musical city of Euphonia – all this dispensed by the players in the pit of a northern European opera house. more details
-------ooooooo0000000ooooooo------- Oxford Lieder Festival 2015 . Hector Berlioz - A Study Day 24 October 2015 - 11:00am - 4:00pm £20 (including coffee on arrival) Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda's College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY Presented in association with The Berlioz Society A day spent exploring this colourful character, a highly influential, even revolutionary composer, author and conductor. Speakers include David Cairns, author of the definitive biography of Berlioz. 11am Welcome coffee 11.30am ‘Berlioz in Context’ - a talk given by David Cairns 12.30pm A light lunch will be available for purchase 1.15pm Lunchtime recital Rachel Kelly mezzo-soprano Andri Björn Róbertsson bass-baritone Edwige Herchenroder piano 2.30pm 'From Romance to Mélodie' - a talk given by Julian Rushton 3.20pm 'Berlioz's legacy' - a talk given by Richard Wigmore The evening recital, at 7.30pm in the Holywell Music Room, Holywell St, Oxford with also focus on Berlioz, with James Gilchrist, Dorottya Láng and Julius Drake. Further information / bookings: www.oxfordlieder.co.uk www.ticketslieder.co.uk or by telephone 01865 305305 -------ooooooo0000000ooooooo------- Festival Berlioz 2015 - Advance information This summer's Berlioz Festival at La Côte Saint-André, the composer's birthplace near Grenoble, is to have a Napoleonic theme with the title “Sur les routes Napoléon”. Running from August 19-30, the programme is to include performances of the Te Deum, the Symphonie fantastique and Lélio and the Grande Symphonie funèbre et triomphale. Among leading conductors are François-Xavier Roth and Sir John Eliot Gardiner. For more information CLICK HERE -------ooooooo0000000ooooooo-------
New Members' Special offer - for a limited period! Annual membership of the Society costs £20.00 and new members of the Society will receive a free copy of a 32-page illustrated monograph by Dr Philip Mansel on Paris in the Age of Berlioz, published by the Society in November 2006. If you wish to join the Society, or obtain more information, please contact us as below. Colin Davis discography
-------ooooooo0000000ooooooo------- Berlioz was the target of caricaturists - probably more than any other composer. To see a selection of these, CLICK HERE He has also inspired many portraits, including one by Haydn Greenaway, to view, CLICK HERE
If you have any QUESTIONS about Berlioz, contact our Questions and Comments line. We'll try to find an answer to any question about Berlioz's life and works. If you have an INTERESTING ITEM about Berlioz, the man, his life, his music etc., contact our Questions and Comments line, and it may appear here, with an attribution "our thanks to (your name) of (town) for this item."
J.M.W. Turner: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage - Italy (1832) - after Byron's poem of the same name - which was also the inspiration for Berlioz's "Harold in Italy", for viola and orchestra. -------ooooooo0000000ooooooo------- HOW TO JOIN THE BERLIOZ SOCIETY:- Contact the Membership Secretary at email@example.com for this and all other enquiries. Berlioz the genius
|Berlioz Society Officers|
|President and Bulletin Editor: David Cairns CBE||Hon. Secretary: Simon Jones|
|Chairman: Alastair Aberdare||Membership Secretary: Linda Edmondson|
|Vice-Chairman: Adam Ridley||Weekend Coordinator : Helen Petchey|
|Hon. Treasurer: Martin Price||Summer Event Co-ordinator: Shelagh Marston|
|Media Relations: Christopher Follett||Webmaster: Dave May|
|Archivist: Brian Godfrey|