Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hector Berlioz - France's Romantic Composer

"Love cannot express the idea of music, while music may give an idea of love." - Hector Berlioz

Historical Period: Romantic Era
Nationality: French
Born: December 11, 1803, La Côte Saint-André, France
Died: March 8,1869, Paris, France
Contemporaries: Frederic Chopin, Richard Wagner, Fromental Halévy,  Giacomo Meyerbeer, Gaspare Spontini

Early Life

Hector Berlioz was born in 1803 in a comfortable home in a villa north of Grenoble in France. His father was a respected physician and scholar. Because many schools were shutting down in the area, Hector received most of his education from his father at home. He showed interest in music at an early age, and despite being destined to become a physician like his father, he was encouraged to develop his musical skill. In 1816 he began to learn the flute and guitar and even began to compose many pieces which he saved and reused in later compositions. His earliest know composition is called the Pot-pourri, which is said to be lost. He also wrote a song for the voice and guitar which he would later use in his famous Symphonie Fantastique

In 1821 his father sent him to Paris to finish his medical studies. While he was there Berlioz also studied under Professor Jean-François Lesueur, who taught him Parisian music. It was also in Paris that Berlioz was exposed to opera and after being encouraged by his friend Jean-François Lesueur, Berlioz decided to fully give himself to music. After submitting to his father and attending medical school for a year Berlioz went home and declared his wish to pursue music full time. That was not good news to them, his parents were very upset. After failing to force him to abandon his passion for music, Berlioz broke away from his father and mother. That was very painful for Berlioz's parents, so they decided to remove all financial support for Berlioz.

Come back next week for Part 2!

 *Written by Book 1 Piano Student.

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