Music Composers

Hector Berlioz-Part 4

What fiber of a man! Even adverse criticism he considered as a part of success.

But his hope that Miss Smithson would hear of him was not fulfilled. She was not present. "This passion will be my death; how often all the English papers ring with her praises; I am unknown. When I have written something great, something stupendous, I must go to London to have it performed. Oh, for success! success under her very eyes!"

Berlioz in Rome

A passionate nature like Berlioz's, burning with love and ambition, is downright whipped into enthusiasm and inspiration. No wonder that the immediate result of this elated mood was one of his masterworks, the Symphonie Fantastique, Episodes de la vie d'un artiste. As the winner of the Prix de Rome he went to Rome and took up his abode at the French Academy, where he was applying himself more to riotous amusements than to serious study.

They had there what they called "English concerts." Every one of the artists living there chose a different song and sang it in a different key beginning at a sign one after another; as the concert in twenty-four keys went on crescendo, the frightened dogs in the pincio kept up a howling obligato and the barbers on the Piazza di Spagna down below winked at each other, saying slyly: "French music." Some bad tongue affirmed that the influence of these uproarious performances is to be noticed in Berlioz' compositions.

While living at the Academy he contracted a friendship with Crispino, one of the villagers. "He got me balls, powder, and even percussion caps. I won his affection by helping to serenade his mistress and by signing a duet with him to that untamable young person, then by a present of two shirts and a pair of trousers. Crispino could not write, so, when he had anything to tell me, he came to Rome. What were thirty leagues for him? Once he appeared:

The Etude Magazine September 1919

 

 

 

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