Romantic French composer Hector Berlioz was born near Grenoble on 11 December 1803. He abandoned his medical studies to pursue a career in music, and studied at the Paris Conservatoire.
He is known for his works for large forces - Symphonie fantastique, Harold en Italie, La Damnation de Faust, Les Troyens, Roméo et Juliette and the Grande messe des morts. He also wrote a Treatise on Instrumentation. He had a big influence on the development of Romanticism, and this can be heard in the music of Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner.
Berlioz died at his Paris home on 8 March 1869, aged sixty-five.
A selection of M&V articles about Hector Berlioz
Profile. No Vulgar Commercialiser - George Colerick tells the story of Louis Jullien, a French impressario, composer and conductor famous in London in the nineteenth century
CD Spotlight. A Unique Snapshot - French music for Christmas, sung in Oxford by a Cambridge choir, heard by Keith Bramich. '... Christmas music, much of it well-known in Britain, sung in French in various original and unusual versions ...'
Wild Extravagance - George Colerick investigates Berlioz, Fantasy and Literature
Ensemble. Innovative and Enthralling - Berlioz's 'La damnation de Faust' at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Joy and Wonder - Merton College Oxford's new Christmas CD, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'The singing is not only exquisite but has that sense of magic and glory that instills in one's spirit a genuine feeling of hope for a true fraternal love among all men.'
Ensemble. Listening with Fresh Ears - A little-known version of the 'Italian Symphony' plus other music by Mendelssohn and Berlioz, from Sarah Connolly, Kati Debretzeni and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, intrigues Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Balletic Energy - Britten, Korngold and Berlioz from Vilde Frang, Nicholas Collon and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra impresses Mike Wheeler
Dies Irae - George Colerick takes a look at secular and romantic uses of the old Latin hymn
Ensemble. The Treasured Crown - Roderic Dunnett reports in depth on last month's Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester
Ensemble. Sonic Transparency - Fabien Gabel and the Royal Philharmonic impress Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Genius and Intemperance - Berlioz's 'Benvenuto Cellini', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Enduring Fascination - Berlioz and Tchaikovsky from Lawrence Power, the Hallé Orchestra and Ryan Wigglesworth, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Much to Admire - Songs by Berlioz, Chausson and Duparc, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... Soile Isokoski interprets this unique repertoire with eloquence and mastery ...'
Ensemble. A Gift Horse - Berlioz's 'Les Troyens' at San Francisco Opera brings tears to James Sohre's eyes
CD Spotlight. Orchestral Discipline - Berlioz's 'Harold in Italy', heard by Stephen Francis Vasta. '... sweet, plangent tone ...'
Ensemble. Skillfully Adapted - Gluck's 'Orfeo e Euridice' in Palermo, in the Berlioz version, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi
An Affectionate Eye - George Bernard Shaw as London Music Critic, by George Colerick
Ensemble. Consummate Professionalism - Nigel Ogden begins Derby Cathedral's series of summer organ recitals, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Extraordinarily Beautiful - Joseph Summer's Shakespeare Concerts Series, heard by Howard Smith. '... immediately expressive.'
Ensemble. Orpheus versus Orpheus - Giuseppe Pennisi enjoys 'Orfeo e Euridice' at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and surveys the different versions of Gluck's opera
Ensemble. Traditional and Bold - Berlioz's Les Troyens, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
DVD Spotlight. Collapsing Troy - Berlioz from Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... much orchestral wizardry under Antonio Pappano ...'
CD Spotlight. Musical Spirit - Berlioz overtures, heard by Howard Smith. '... commendable intuition and skillfulness ...'
Ensemble. A Virtuoso Storm - Alexander Romanovsky joins Cristian Mandeal and the Hallé Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Pure Gold - Berlioz's 'Les Troyens' live in HD, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Reaching Out - Mendelssohn, Mozart, Berlioz and Ravel from James Feddeck and the Cleveland Orchestra, heard by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. A Delicate Touch - Frank Rosenwein plays the Strauss Oboe Concerto, enjoyed by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. Angels and Demons - Giuseppe Pennisi visits Sagra Musicale Umbra 2012
Ensemble. The Finest of Them All - The 2012 Hereford Three Choirs Festival, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Strength of Purpose - Nicholas Collon conducts Sinfonia Viva, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. More Fantasy? - Robert Hugill has reservations about Terry Gilliam's production of Berlioz's 'The Damnation of Faust'
Ensemble. An Impressive Achievement - Berlioz's 'The Trojans' at Berlin's Deutsche Oper, assessed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Unmistakably French - 'Les Nuits d'Eté', heard by Giuseppe Pennisi from Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
CD Spotlight. Indeed Eternal - 'Symphonie fantastique' and 'Le Carnaval romain', enjoyed by Robert Anderson. '... much to admire ...'
Ensemble. High Voltage - Sol Gabetta joins Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. A True Dynamo - Lawrence Budmen listens to French conductor Ludovic Morlot, in concert with Jennifer Koh and the New World Symphony
CD Spotlight. Lyric Warmth - Jennifer Larmore sings Barber, Berlioz, Ravel and Britten, recommended by Howard Smith. '... a compelling disc ...'
Ensemble. Exciting Results - A new partnership between Charles Dutoit and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, experienced by Mike Wheeler
Profile. Rich Musical Experiences - American conductor Joel Revzen talks to Maria Nockin