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View Diary: Thursday Classical Music OPUS 79: Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique (52 comments)

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  •  I also adore the first movement ... (7+ / 0-)

    ... you are right, it's the one that "grows" with successive hearings. I commented several weeks ago that I looked forward to your analysis of this most bizarre and intriguing work by one of my favorite composers. You did not disappoint, Dumbo! I still maintain that giving Liszt's piano transcription of the symphony a listen is worth the effort because the structure of the movements, the inner logic of Berlioz's writing, is transparent in its "stripped down" version. A personal aside: I wrote a three-act play for an undergraduate theater class that used the Symphonie Fantastique as a jumping-off point. The protagonist was, of course, Berlioz, after imbibing a mass quantity of opium. His friend the violinist Paganini (who supposedly was granted supernatural powers over his instrument by Satan, ha!) and Harriet Smithson are likewise present for the proceedings. My play was basically a dramatization of Berlioz's programme, a staged version of his opium dream. My drama professor and fellow students were baffled during the first reading. I felt like Berlioz the lesser, with the philistines unappreciative of great art! Pretty pretentious of me!

    Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me, "how good, how good does it feel to be free? " And I answer them most mysteriously, "are birds free from the chains of the skyway? " (Bob Dylan)

    by JKTownsend on Fri May 04, 2012 at 06:23:05 AM PDT

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