Hector Berlioz

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.

A selection of articles about Hector Berlioz

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