Music Composers

Hector Berlioz-Part 2

They wanted him to study medicine; they boy, on the contrary, showed interest only for music, for instruments. He found a flageolet in a neglected drawer and made such dire noises that his father in self defense taught him to play. After that he discovered a flute and later a guitar - a peculiar omen for the future master of modern instrumentation.

A Strong Musical Inclination

Dr. Berlioz observed those symptoms with growing concern. When the time was drawing near for the choice of a profession, he called Hector and handed him a voluminous treatise on anatomy and promised him to buy him a beautiful flute if he would be assiduous in the study of medicine. That was a dangerous weapon, but for the time being Berlioz busied himself reluctantly with Aesculapius only, of course, to acquire the coveted instrument. In 1822, when he was nineteen years old, he was sent to Paris to enter the medical school, feeling, however, in his heart like a condemned criminal. But the first day of the dissecting room was too much for him, and he declared that he would rather die than return to that charnel house. A visit to the Academy of Music, where they were playing Salieri's Danaide, determined him to break totally with the hated medical career. He established himself in the public library of the Conservatoire and began devouring Gluck's scores; he read and reread them; he learned them by heart; he forgot to eat, drink or sleep, and swore that despite father, mother, relations and friends, a musician he would be and nothing else!

The Etude Magazine September 1919





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