Hector Berlioz was without doubt one of the most original and innovative musicians of his day. With his Symphonie fantastique he became a pioneer of programme music: music that evokes images to tell a story. He redefined the concept of orchestration, and he coined the term idée fixe to denote a musical idea used obsessively. Thanks in part to this recurring musical motif – which represents his beloved – Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique became one of the most dramatic and exciting symphonies of the 19th century.
The full name of the work was originally Épisode de la vie d’un artiste, symphonie fantastique en cinq parties. Taking his own unrequited love for a beautiful actress as his painful source of inspiration, Berlioz created an intensely personal orchestral work about a sensitive young artist who is spurned by his dream woman. He takes a fatal dose of opium to put an end to his heartbreak, but instead the drug takes him on a hallucinatory journey, which ultimately leads him to believe that he has murdered his beloved. With his masterly music making any words superfluous, Berlioz recounts the story down to the tiniest detail.
In collaboration with Cera