[90] Hector Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique

26 Dec

I love melody.  I’m not sure how fully I realized this fact until I dug down into the reasons that I found myself unmoved by this Romantic classic.

John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique

John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique

I was fascinated by the backstory – a composer smitten with an actress in her role as Shakespeare’s Ophelia wooing with extravagant song – and the fact that the moral of the story is, “be careful what you wish for.”  I was intrigued to hear the period instrumentation, to explore the “program notes” provided at the premier.

I was excited to hear this piece until the very moment the music began.

I have found myself completely unable to engage, and once again I was not immediately clear why.  The orchestration is familiar, the performances crisp and energetic, and still I find nothing to cling to.  It takes me very many listens to realize at least part of the problem.

There is nothing I can hum along with.

While I am certain others (starting with my very own guest blogger) will disagree, I fail to discover a memorable moment.  This would make for a difficult hour of listening if I only played through one time.

By the sixth or seventh hour I’m just sick of it.

There are notes being played, and they seem to be in pleasing enough combinations.  There are solo sections and wall of sound harmonies.  And after weeks of listening, if I heard a section on the radio or in a store tomorrow, I would not recognize it as Berlioz, let alone as the Symphonie Fantastique . . .

It is an odd thing to admit, and may reflect more of failing on my part than on that of Berlioz, but it is true nonetheless.

Perhaps he can win me over next week.

Next Week:  Hector Berlioz – Les Troyens

Owned before blogging? No. (9 of 90 = 10%)
Heard before blogging? No. (12 of 90 = 13%)
Recommend? No. (72 of 90 = 80%)

 

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