Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hector Berlioz: France's Romantic Composer - Part 4

Final Years and Legacy

http://www.samuelhuet.com/graisivaudan/berlioz/img01.jpg     After his extensive travels throughout Europe, Berlioz  returned to Paris incapacitated by illness and saddened by many deaths. His first wife died in 1854; his second wife, Maria Recio, who had been his companion for many years and whom he had married when he became a widower, died suddenly in 1862. His son, Louis,  on whom Berlioz concentrated the affection of his declining years, died at the age of 33 of yellow fever.

 These dramatic events did not stop Berlioz from composing more music and traveling. In 1861 Berlioz produced his work Beatrice et Benedict, and in 1863 Les Troyens.  In 1866 Berlioz journeyed to Vienna and Russia where his music was accepted with great enthusiasm.

Following those tours, a lonely Berlioz returned to Paris where he died on March 8, 1869.  He left behind him many innovative compositions that had set the tone for the romantic period. He was a great inspiration to composers such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. Although some of his work was not well received during his life, his popularity increased after his death. Richard Wanger once said of Berlioz: “The reckless boldness and severe precision…took me by storm and impetuously fanned the flames of my personal feeling for music and poetry.”

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