Romantic French composer Hector Berlioz was born near Grenoble on 11 December 1803. He abandoned his medical studies to pursue a career in music, and studied at the Paris Conservatoire.
He is known for his works for large forces - Symphonie fantastique, Harold en Italie, La Damnation de Faust, Les Troyens, Roméo et Juliette and the Grande messe des morts. He also wrote a Treatise on Instrumentation. He had a big influence on the development of Romanticism, and this can be heard in the music of Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner.
Berlioz died at his Paris home on 8 March 1869, aged sixty-five.
Spotlight. Largely Traditional - Keith Bramich listens to Christmas music recorded in 1975 in Atlanta, Georgia. '... an intriguing glimpse of the work of Robert Shaw and his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus from nearly fifty years ago.'
CD Spotlight. Masterfully Orchestrated - Geoff Pearce listens to Berlioz, Ravel and Saint-Saëns from Canadian soprano Marie-Nicole Lemieux. '... the soloist and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo conducted by Kazuki Yamada are on top form ...'
CD Spotlight. Overwhelming Performances - Previously unreleased recordings by Jessye Norman, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Unmissable for all opera buffs.'
CD Spotlight. Immense Dramatic Power - Gerald Fenech listens to Berlioz. '... an interpretation overflowing with passion and flair ...'
CD Spotlight. Themes of Love and Loss - Music by Berlioz impresses Gerald Fenech. 'John Nelson's supreme mastery of these scores draws peerless performances full of exciting moments from the Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg, while bringing to the fore all the innovative details of orchestration and harmony.'
Ensemble. A Compelling Intimacy - Mike Wheeler listens to Beethoven and Berlioz from Stephen Waarts, the Hallé Orchestra and Maxime Pascal
Ensemble. Nicely Contrasted - Mike Wheeler listens to Christmas music from Derby Bach Choir, Derventio Brass and Old Vicarage School Choir
Ensemble. Much to Enjoy - Christmas with the Sitwell Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Tremendous and Sublime - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Berlioz's 'Grande Messe des morts'
French Romanticism - George Colerick discusses orchestral music by Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Delibes, Lalo, d'Indy, Debussy, Ravel, Honegger, Poulenc, Milhaud and others
Ensemble. Packed With Good Things - Roderic Dunnett reports from the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
Ensemble. Sir John and Romantic Music - Giuseppe Pennisi describes an English conductor's visit to Rome
Ensemble. Expressive Progression - Mike Wheeler enjoys a concert by Stephen Hough, Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra
Profile. No Vulgar Commercialiser - George Colerick tells the story of Louis Jullien, a French impressario, composer and conductor famous in London in the nineteenth century
CD Spotlight. A Unique Snapshot - French music for Christmas, sung in Oxford by a Cambridge choir, heard by Keith Bramich. '... Christmas music, much of it well-known in Britain, sung in French in various original and unusual versions ...'
Wild Extravagance - George Colerick investigates Berlioz, Fantasy and Literature
Ensemble. Innovative and Enthralling - Berlioz's 'La damnation de Faust' at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Joy and Wonder - Merton College Oxford's new Christmas CD, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'The singing is not only exquisite but has that sense of magic and glory that instills in one's spirit a genuine feeling of hope for a true fraternal love among all men.'
Ensemble. Listening with Fresh Ears - A little-known version of the 'Italian Symphony' plus other music by Mendelssohn and Berlioz, from Sarah Connolly, Kati Debretzeni and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, intrigues Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Balletic Energy - Britten, Korngold and Berlioz from Vilde Frang, Nicholas Collon and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra impresses Mike Wheeler
Dies Irae - George Colerick takes a look at secular and romantic uses of the old Latin hymn
Ensemble. The Treasured Crown - Roderic Dunnett reports in depth on last month's Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester
Ensemble. Sonic Transparency - Fabien Gabel and the Royal Philharmonic impress Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Genius and Intemperance - Berlioz's 'Benvenuto Cellini', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Enduring Fascination - Berlioz and Tchaikovsky from Lawrence Power, the Hallé Orchestra and Ryan Wigglesworth, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Much to Admire - Songs by Berlioz, Chausson and Duparc, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... Soile Isokoski interprets this unique repertoire with eloquence and mastery ...'
Ensemble. A Gift Horse - Berlioz's 'Les Troyens' at San Francisco Opera brings tears to James Sohre's eyes
CD Spotlight. Orchestral Discipline - Berlioz's 'Harold in Italy', heard by Stephen Francis Vasta. '... sweet, plangent tone ...'
Ensemble. Skillfully Adapted - Gluck's 'Orfeo e Euridice' in Palermo, in the Berlioz version, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi
An Affectionate Eye - George Bernard Shaw as London Music Critic, by George Colerick
Ensemble. Consummate Professionalism - Nigel Ogden begins Derby Cathedral's series of summer organ recitals, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Extraordinarily Beautiful - Joseph Summer's Shakespeare Concerts Series, heard by Howard Smith. '... immediately expressive.'
Ensemble. Orpheus versus Orpheus - Giuseppe Pennisi enjoys 'Orfeo e Euridice' at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and surveys the different versions of Gluck's opera
Ensemble. Traditional and Bold - Berlioz's Les Troyens, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
DVD Spotlight. Collapsing Troy - Berlioz from Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... much orchestral wizardry under Antonio Pappano ...'
CD Spotlight. Musical Spirit - Berlioz overtures, heard by Howard Smith. '... commendable intuition and skillfulness ...'
Ensemble. A Virtuoso Storm - Alexander Romanovsky joins Cristian Mandeal and the Hallé Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Pure Gold - Berlioz's 'Les Troyens' live in HD, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Reaching Out - Mendelssohn, Mozart, Berlioz and Ravel from James Feddeck and the Cleveland Orchestra, heard by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. A Delicate Touch - Frank Rosenwein plays the Strauss Oboe Concerto, enjoyed by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. Angels and Demons - Giuseppe Pennisi visits Sagra Musicale Umbra 2012
Ensemble. The Finest of Them All - The 2012 Hereford Three Choirs Festival, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Strength of Purpose - Nicholas Collon conducts Sinfonia Viva, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. More Fantasy? - Robert Hugill has reservations about Terry Gilliam's production of Berlioz's 'The Damnation of Faust'
Ensemble. An Impressive Achievement - Berlioz's 'The Trojans' at Berlin's Deutsche Oper, assessed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Unmistakably French - 'Les Nuits d'Eté', heard by Giuseppe Pennisi from Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
CD Spotlight. Perfectly Adequate - Jacques Rouvier's Debussy Préludes, heard by Julian Jacobson. '... the performances lack a degree of intensity and personal involvement.'
CD Spotlight. Finely Displayed - Alfred Brendel plays Liszt, recommended by Robert Anderson. 'Michael Gielen backs Brendel's eloquence with unobtrusive skill.'
Ensemble. A Difficult Cocktail - Rossini's 'Moïse et Pharaon', assessed by Giuseppe Pennisi
A Golden Treasury - Havergal Brian on European and American music, read by Patric Standford
Ensemble. A Blistering Whirlwind - More from the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Heroes Step Up in Crisis - The Muti era lays claim to Chicago, by Barbara Sealock
CD Spotlight. Enviable Ease - Irena Portenko plays Chopin, recommended by Robert Anderson. '... easy fluidity of touch and tone ...'
Ensemble. 'Alceste' in the Madhouse - Giuseppe Pennisi files his last report from the 2010 Aix-en-Provence Festival
CD Spotlight. Indeed Eternal - 'Symphonie fantastique' and 'Le Carnaval romain', enjoyed by Robert Anderson. '... much to admire ...'
Ensemble. High Voltage - Sol Gabetta joins Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. A True Dynamo - Lawrence Budmen listens to French conductor Ludovic Morlot, in concert with Jennifer Koh and the New World Symphony
CD Spotlight. Lyric Warmth - Jennifer Larmore sings Barber, Berlioz, Ravel and Britten, recommended by Howard Smith. '... a compelling disc ...'
CD Spotlight. Brilliantly Portrayed - Friedrich Klose's 'Ilsebill', praised by Gerald Fenech. '... a risky yet rewarding adventure ...'
Ensemble. Tonal Luxuriance - Lawrence Budmen reports from Tanglewood 2009
Bizarre Perception - Alistair Hinton discusses a recent article on English music by David Hamilton
Caressing Hands - Andrejs Osokins at London's St Martin-in-the-Fields, heard by Julian Jacobson
Ensemble. Exciting Results - A new partnership between Charles Dutoit and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, experienced by Mike Wheeler
Ask Alice - On business, payment and the arts, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Profile. Rich Musical Experiences - American conductor Joel Revzen talks to Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Podium Celebrity - Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra in Florida, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. A Real Barnburner - Another report from this summer's Tanglewood Festival, by Lawrence Budmen
Record Box. Great Entertainment - Stokowski conducts ballet music, heard by Patric Standford
Power and Delicacy - Beate Toyka plays Grieg's piano concerto, heard by Mike Wheeler
The Wandering Traveller - Kelly Ferjutz delves further into Richard Wagner and the forthcoming symposium in Ohio
Ensemble. A masterclass in performing Mozart - A concert by Stephen Hough, Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra delighted Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Tanglewood and Beyond - The sounds of summer in the Berkshires, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. Much to Enjoy - The Budapest Symphony Orchestra on tour in the UK, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Capable and entertaining - 'Benvenuto Cellini' in Strasbourg, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A fine sound - A concert by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Marshalling the ophicleides - Charles Munch conducts Symphonie Fantastique, reviewed by Robert Anderson. 'The Boston players revel among the cavorting witches with gleeful efficiency.'
Listening with baroque ears - Robert Hugill investigates the world of collaborative opera
Ensemble. Mystical chorus - David Arditti at a different performance of 'L'Enfance du Christ'
Ensemble. Warmth and spontaneity - David Thompson reviews a performance of 'L'Enfance du Christ' by Berlioz
Mad about Glinka - Russian conductor Valery Gergiev arrives in London later this month to conduct a rare concert performance of 'A Life for the Tsar'. Musicologist Gerard McBurney talks to Roderic Dunnett about its importance
Celestial music - Gordon Rumson explores sacred and secular in the writing of Wilfrid Mellers
Provocative thoughts, from Patric Standford - neglected genius
CD Spotlight - Sonically brilliant. '... an entirely involving performance ...' A new recording of the Berlioz 'Te Deum', with David Wilkins