Commemoration of Hector Berlioz’ death 150 years ago
In 1856 in a postscript to his autobiography, Hector Berlioz wrote “The predominant features of my music are passionate expression, inward intensity, rhythmic impetus, and a quality of unexpectedness.” Indeed, this French composer, who died 150 years ago on 8 March, did not think small. He wrote no chamber music, but composed monumental works for choir and orchestra such as the Requiem (Grand Messe des morts) or the “Te Deum”. He revolutionized the music of his time and met with much rejection: “The chief reason for the prolonged war waged against me lies in the antagonism between my musical values and those of the mass of the Paris public.”
Today Berlioz is considered one of the music history greats. His opera “Les Troyens”, which was thought unplayable in years gone by, is performed regularly, as is the choral symphony “Roméo et Juliette” and of course the “Symphonie fantastique”. From 1967 to 2006 Bärenreiter published the “New Berlioz Edition”, the complete edition of this composer’s works. The high scholarly standards of these volumes have enabled performances of great standing all over the world.