Other Works by Berlioz

September 17, 2010 on 3:36 pm | Written by: | In Uncategorized | Comments Off on Other Works by Berlioz

After the question “Berlioz or Beethoven?” was posed in class today, I began thinking. In class, I was favoring Beethoven for many reasons. One was because I did not like Symphonie Fantastique as much as Beethoven’s symphonies and sonatas. Another reason was because I really enjoy the emotions of anger and sadness that can be felt while listening to Beethoven’s music. It has an intensity that cannot be felt from any other composer’s music.
However, I felt that because I had only listened to one piece by Berlioz and multiple pieces by Beethoven, I needed to listen to a few more pieces by Berlioz before I could make a fair decision. I listened to Berlioz’s Requiem and La damnation de Faust. Here is what I thought of them:
I did not like Berlioz’s Requiem and ended up only listening to about 3 minutes of it before turning it off. To me, it seemed to drone on. As requiems go, it seemed ordinary and there was nothing about it that caught my attention or interest. It had a kind of monotonic tone and melody. The chanting was dull (although that may have been the performance, not Berlioz’s fault). I much preferred Mozart’s Requiem, which contains more interesting dynamics and more passion or feeling than Berlioz’s Requiem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi8vJ_lMxQI
I liked La damnation de Faust better than the Requiem. It had a nice moderate to fast pace and was light and upbeat. I like how the piece was constantly ascending and descending. The movement of it was very nice and I like the accents that the percussion added to the piece. I liked the conversation between the brass and the strings in some parts of this piece as well. Even though it is common in most pieces, I though Berlioz executed it well. The singing fit very well with the music also. The male singer had a deep and strong voice and the light music complemented it well. I liked the contrast because if the music had been deeper it would have just clashed with the singer’s voice.
I thought listening to a few more pieces by Berlioz would change my opinion, but my opinion still remains the same. I enjoy Beethoven’s music more than Berlioz’s. His music is simply one of kind. The emotions he conveys through his pieces cannot be felt through any other composer’s works.
That being said, I love the romantic aspects of Berlioz. I love how he was a hopeless romantic, fond of Shakespeare and his tragic stories of love. This is evident in his music, especially Symphonie Fantastique. While alive, he quoted “Love cannot express the idea of music, while music may give an idea of love” and I think it sums up his feelings and his music.

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