Berlioz’s work is about a young artist. In the music the young artist is represented by a tune. This tune is often heard during the symphony. That is why it is called an “ idée fixe ”, which means a “ fixed idea ”, i.e. an idea that keeps coming again and again.
A tradition of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred vocal music in the early European Catholic church. The Dies irae theme used in the fifth movement, Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath, of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique was originally a Gregorian chant as part of the Catholic Requiem Mass.
Symphonie fantastique is a piece of program music that tells the story of an artist gifted with a lively imagination who has poisoned himself with opium in the depths of despair because of hopeless, unrequited love. Berlioz provided his own preface and program notes for each movement of the work.
Symphonie fantastique is an epic for a huge orchestra. Through its movements, it tells the story of an artist’s self-destructive passion for a beautiful woman. The symphony describes his obsession and dreams, tantrums and moments of tenderness, and visions of suicide and murder, ecstasy and despair.
A homophonic chordal texture is presented in the Religiosamente ending (bar 511). Central to the melodic writing of Symphonie Fantastique is the idée fixe (a recurring theme which serves as a structural device). This theme is heard in all five movements of the work. It is then repeated, altered down a fourth in bar 80.
Idée fixe , (French: “fixed idea”) in music and literature, a recurring theme or character trait that serves as the structural foundation of a work. The term was later used in psychology to refer to an irrational obsession that so dominates an individual’s thoughts as to determine his or her actions.
One of the most famous sequences of Gregorian chant, Dies Irae – “Day of Wrath” – describes the Last Judgment of souls before God where the saved will go to heaven and the unsaved cast into eternal flames of suffering.
The fifth movement, Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath, depicts the Hero’s funeral. Witches and hideous monsters shriek, groan, and cackle amid quotes of the Dies Irae (the ancient chant evoking the Day of Wrath). The idée fixe now degenerates into a vulgar, grotesque parody of itself. Berlioz’s music evokes dramatic scenes.
There are five movements , instead of the four movements that were conventional for symphonies at the time: Rêveries – Passions (Reveries– Passions) Un bal (A Ball) Scène aux champs (Scene in the Fields)
Berlioz called the five movements inspired by this program: “Reveries and Passions,” “A Ball,” “In the Country,” “March to the Scaffold” and “Dream of the Witches Sabbath.” All of the symphony’s innovations — the radical orchestration, eerie harmonies, eccentric rhythms, and the idée fixe representing the beloved (a
14, in full Symphonie fantastique : épisode de la vie d’un artiste, English Fantastic Symphony: Episode in the Life of an Artist, orchestral work by French composer Hector Berlioz, widely recognized as an early example of program music , that attempts to portray a sequence of opium dreams inspired by a failed love affair
: instrumental music independent of the objective suggestion of title, text, or program and dependent on structure alone for its subjective comprehension.
The inspiration for Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique was: the actress Harriet Smithson. Edvard Grieg represents the: Scandinavian nationalist school.
“Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565)” Film : “The Black Cat” (1934) “Black Angels” Film : “The Exorcist” (1973) “ Symphonie Fantastique ” Film : “The Shining” (1980) “Danse Macabre” Film : “Tombstone” (1993)
Symphonie Fantastique is cast in five movements : the first a dream, the second a ball where the artist is haunted by the sight of his beloved. After a country scene, the fourth movement slips into nightmare: “Convinced that his love is spurned, the artist poisons himself with opium,” explained Berlioz.