Article

Louis-Hector Berlioz

Julian Rushton

in Music

ISBN: 9780199757824
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0032
Louis-Hector Berlioz

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Louis-Hector Berlioz (b. 1803–d. 1869) was the most important French composer of the early- to mid-19th century. He was born at La Côte-St-André, Isère, in southwestern France and went to Paris to study medicine, his father’s profession, despite his determination to pursue a musical career. He was no virtuoso, but played guitar and flute; exceptionally for his time, he was not a pianist. He did become an important conductor, not only of his own works. His early provincial isolation partly explains an originality most apparent in melody, rhythm, and orchestration, and sometimes misunderstood as incompetence (and, with melody, simply overlooked). His most reliable income was from his often brilliant journalism. He was never part of the Parisian musical establishment, but he was an important conductor and promoted musical events at his own financial risk. He traveled to promote his music in Germany and Russia and took conducting engagements in England. He was a strong influence on Russian composers; Liszt and Wagner were in his debt, as were younger French composers such as Bizet and Chabrier. In the latter part of the 20th century, increased performance, including recordings, and the publication of a complete edition of his works, established his reputation beyond doubt.

Article.  7972 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music ; Ethnomusicology ; Music Theory and Analysis ; Musicology and Music History ; Music Education and Pedagogy

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