Harold in Italy, movement 3 - Berlioz

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  • Created by: Annie
  • Created on: 12-03-12 17:09


  • Hector Berlioz was one of the most original creative talents of the early Romantic period 
  • His Symphonie fantastique of 1830 was a new type of work which illustrates a highly personal 'episode in the life of an artist' (the artist being Berlioz himself)
  • The composer's beloved is represented by a melody that appears in different guises in every one of its five movements, called an idée fixe (a fixed idea, but used in French to mean an obsession) 
  • Harold in Italy arose from a commission by the famous virtuoso Paganini for a viola concerto
  • Berlioz actually wrote a symphony containing only a modest part for solo viola, intended to represent Harold, the hero of a Lord Byron poem
  • In fact, none of the scenes depicted in the symphony's four movements bear much resemblance to the poem and it is obvious that the hero is, once again, Berlioz himself

The idée fixe

  • This work too has an idée fixe
  • It makes an appearance in every movement and turns up to represent Harold, the vagabond dreamer, as an onlooker


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