“Passionate” “obsessed” “revolutionary” “unprecedented” “hallucinogenic” “ambitous” “jaw-dropping” “delirious” “radical” “weird” Symphonie Fantastique relates a druginduced series of morbid fantasies concerning the unrequited love of a sensitive poet involving murder, execution, and the torments of Hell. Features of Romanticism Emotionalism Self-Expression Individuality Nationalism Programme Music Large orchestra Expanded forms, dynamic ranges etc Berlioz the composer A French romantic composer Compositions reflect his deeply emotional nature and his passion for life and love Innovative. Flexible approach to form and structure. Aware of possibilities of drama and expression. A leading authority in orchestration, tonecolours and timbre. The Symphony Grew out of fast-slow-fast Italian overture. Established as a 4-movement form in Classical period by composers such as Haydn & Mozart. Expanded further by Beethoven, becoming dramatic & expressive. Developed in the Romantic period into the programme symphony, often with 5 movements. Symphonie Fantastique Innovative 5 movements Program Music Each movement has a title and tells the story of Berlioz’ dreams with regard to his infatuation with Harriet Smithson. Movements are threaded together by the idee fixe - a recurring theme representing Harriet. The Programme The story is a window which invites the listener into the work. Be familiar with the images Berlioz is portraying in each movement. Be able to visualise the images in the music This leads to easier examination and analysis of the required movements. Orchestration • Candidates may well hear some resonances of Beethoven, whose music Berlioz admired greatly. • Berlioz’s originality, however, lay very much in the field of orchestration, in which he was extremely innovative. • He often used an extraordinarily large orchestra and scored very precisely to achieve exactly the effects he wanted. Orchestration AN INNOVATIVE ORCHESTRATOR, Berlioz assigned each instrument its own emotional attributes. Woodwind – 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes plus off-stage oboe, English horn, 2 clarinets, piccolo clarinet, 4 bassoons Brass - 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 cornets, 3 trombones, 2 tubas, Percussion - timpani, cymbals, snare drums, bass drums and bells Strings - 2 harps and strings – Berlioz specified at least 15 1st violins, 15 2nd violins, 10 violas, 11 celli and 9 basses *** 60 players in the string section as opposed to an average of 42 in the Classical Period In the Romantic Period string sections were significantly enlarged to produce a louder, fuller string sound that could match the loudness of the large brass instrument sections used in orchestral music from this period Orchestration English horn or Cor Anglais – double reed instrument in the oboe family - Video Piccolo Clarinet – smaller and higher pitched Cornet – similar to a trumpet but has a mellower sound Timpani – Also known as kettle drums Video Film music composers often use leitmotifs to help build a sense of continuity. A leitmotif is a recurring musical idea (a melody, chord sequence, rhythm or a combination of these) which is associated with a particular idea, character or place. Famous Movie Leitmotifs Idée fixe • Berlioz had a unique idea. He wrote a special theme, which he called his idée fixe to represent Harriet • Unlike most symphonies of the time, whose movements were built from distinct themes, the Symphonie Fatastique was marked by a persistent theme – the Idée fixe, which surfaces in various forms in all five movements of the work • Watch videos Seeing how Berlioz treats his theme throughout the symphony can help us unravel just what he thought of her. Listen to the theme as it first appears. How does it first characterize Harriet? How does the music describe the anticipation that ‘Berlioz’ feels upon seeing her? http://www.keepingscore.org/interactive/pages/berlioz/score-idee-fixe Symphonie Fantastique The ‘artist’ in the symphony’s subtitle, ‘Episode in the life of an artist’, is a musician, and it is not over-fanciful to interpret this figure as Berlioz himself. Since this instrumental drama lacks the assistance of words, an explanation of its plan is necessary. The following program, therefore, should be thought of as it were the spoken text of an opera, serving to introduce the musical movements and to explain their character and expression. The music of the three movements represents a composer’s imagination – memories, longings, dreams (and nightmares) Symphonie Fantastique • In contrast to the strong narratives of the two operas, the music of these three movements represents a composer’s imagination – memories, longings, dreams (and nightmares). Movement II: Un bal The composer’s programme describes a ball at which he catches sight of his beloved. ‘The artist finds himself in the most varied situations – in the midst of the tumult of a party, in the peaceful contemplation of the beauties of nature; but everywhere, in town, in the country, the beloved image appears before him and disturbs his mind’ Movement II: Un bal Introduction 0:00-0:43 Before the ball gets under way, an anticipatory mood is suggested. What sort of ‘anticipation’? How do we hear it? Something ‘grows’ – is it only the excitement and bustle of people arriving for a party? Or perhaps the composer’s own emotions? Both? How does it grow? Movement II: Un bal Principal waltz theme • Dynamics: there is a sustained crescendo from the beginning pp to ff • Key: it begins in the tonic minor mode shifting harmonies constantly until the ff tonic major chord ‘lights up’ the scene at bar 30 • Rising pitch: the ascending arpeggio figure played by cellos and basses moves steadily upwards in a sequence (two harps echo this in shorter note values) • Texture: trembling upper strings (tremolo) throughout until bar 32, - tutti (i.e. including full woodwind and brass – there is no percussion in this movement) at bar 30 to emphasize the end • The punctuating perfect cadence that announces the start of the dance (the curtain goes up on a glittering scene?) Movement II: Un bal • The movement is a brisk waltz (valse) of the sort that was fashionable in nineteenthcentury Paris • In triple time, its principal theme has, when first heard, a conventional ‘oom-pah-pah’ accompaniment • Based on a single extended theme which sub-divides into 3 distinct parts. • Includes two appearances of the Idée Fixe Structure of Un Bal Task - Identify the main markers of this movement • Listen out for the different sections and write down their timings • Locate the entrances of the idee fix and the waltz theme • Describe what is happening in each section in terms of orchestration (melody and accompaniment), texture, dynamics, tempo Section Timing Musical Features Introduction 13:26 Crescendo pp to ff, Rising pitch: the ascending arpeggio figure played by cellos and basses moves steadily upwards in a sequence , key change from minor to major at the climax Texture: trembling upper strings (tremolo) and then Tutti to emphasize the ending with a perfect cadence. Shimmering strings Harps play glissando becoming more frequent and louder Principal waltz theme 13:58 Part 1, 0:43 Part 2, 1:05 Part 3 1:18. Each theme is immediately preceded by it’s own 2-bar introduction – these intro’s are a feature of this movement.. In 3/8 time. Starts with strings only with a slight slow down at 0:56. Oom pah pah accompaniment. Theme is followed by ascending figures in flutes and clarinets then followed by descending passages in the strings Principal waltz theme repeated 14.54 As the theme repeats, and continues into new figures the texture builds up: , woodwind join in and the string texture becomes more complex. The momentum increases (no slowing down this time) A sudden moment of shock, dynamic change and descending strings leads us into… Idée fixe 15:17 Combined with the waltz theme. Melody played by solo flute and oboe In 3/8 time. The yearning figure is played higher and higher until it dies away. A ‘fleeting vision’ of her in the tumult of the ball Waltz Theme 3:20 It becomes more richly orchestrated and more dynamic and animated as the tempo increases. Triplet in the clarinet and flute pattern modified and joined by the cornet. The music builds as if it was going to end but then… Idée fixe 5:32 This time on it’s own played by solo clarinet without the waltz accompaniment. Much shorter version. Perhaps the beloved is in full view of the artist and so the theme is played in a purer version? Coda 6:03 A whirling rush ends the music. The dancers spin faster and faster. Might this wild excitement also reflect the faster beating of the composer’s own heart as his passion increases? The artist is left alone amongst the swirling of the festivities Movement II: Un bal Principal waltz theme • An understated beginning: strings only, quietly; a swirling theme, almost classically balanced in its phrasing; a slight (lingering?) slowing down at bars 49–50. • As the theme repeats, and continues into new figures the texture builds up: harps return at bar 54, woodwind join in at bar 62. • The momentum increases (no slowing down the second time at bars 105–6), the string texture becomes more complex (cellos imitating 1st violins at two beats’ distance from bar 78 onwards). Movement II: Un bal Principal waltz theme • The ‘oom-pah-pah’ is shared between harps and woodwind from bar 94, giving an off-beat or slightly less stable feel (as though the dancers are becoming less restrained, more animated, up on their toes, perhaps?). • Candidates might be encouraged to listen carefully to subsequent appearances of this theme, noting other similarities and differences in the scoring, • e.g. at bar 175 it is doubled an octave lower by violas, enriching the tone colour of the strings; it is taken up by the woodwind at bar 233 and, by bar 253, woodwind and 1st violins are playing it an octave higher. Movement II: Un bal • Coda • The second sighting of the beloved interrupts a long tutti passage that had, from bar 256 onwards, where Berlioz instructs ‘animez’, sounded increasingly like a grand closing section for the dance. After the second appearance of the idée fixe the pace resumes more steadily at the original tempo, but con fuoco; after eighteen bars, Berlioz again says ‘animez’, then, after the next sixteen, ‘serrez’ (meaning ‘push on even more’). The scoring is also very full and busy. Can candidates hear the horns’ descending scale in bars 338–345? Spurred on by the frantic opening figure of the waltz theme, now in perpetual motion and rising in pitch from bar 338, the dancers spin faster and faster. Might this wild excitement also reflect the faster beating of the composer’s own heart as his passion increases? Movement III: Scène aux champs – Scene in the fields • Musical heart of the symphony (5 movements) • The pivotal point in the whole drama • Set in reality like the other movements – this time in the countryside. The artist is relaxed and calm • He hears two piping shepherds across a vast alpine valley Scene in the fields The use of English horn and oboe give the movement a pastoral feel. The lover is in a field (represents Berlioz when he use to visit his grandparents). He hears shepards in the background piping a beautiful melody. He dreams of his beloved. The idee fixe is heard several times however, the pastoral feel is lost when the timpani beings signifying a thunder storm. It starts of softly demonstrating that the storm is far away but the music gets louder representing the storm moving closer and closer. Movement III: Scène aux champs – Scene in the fields Watch the first 7 minutes of the YouTube clip of the analysis of Movement III What musical devices does Berlioz use to • give the feeling that the story is now set in the countryside and the sense of space and perspective that exists? • depict the two shepherds piping? Movement III: Scène aux champs – Scene in the fields • Call and response between cor anglais and off-stage oboe represents two piping shepherds communicating across an alpine valley • What might the strange viola tremolos suggest? • Peaceful mood and feeling of space created (especially by the use of the off-stage oboe) which creates a sense of distance • Use of F major (a key which reflects calm and tranquility • Slow tempo - Adagio • The quiet, reflective mood lends itself to the suggestion that the composer is relaxed and daydreaming. • ‘Yearning’ quality of the pastoral theme repeated higher at 3.003.20 and 4.12-4:38 before eventually falling away • Birdsong at 6:22-7.00 evokes the country setting Program Notes – Movement 3 Finding himself one evening in the country, he hears in the distance two shepherds piping a ranz des vaches in dialogue. This pastoral duet, the scenery, the quiet rustling of the trees gently brushed by the wind, the hopes he has recently found some reason to entertain—all concur in affording his heart an unaccustomed calm, and in giving a more cheerful color to his ideas. He reflects upon his isolation: he hopes that his loneliness will soon be over. — But what if she were deceiving him!—This mingling of hope and fear, these ideas of happiness disturbed by black presentiments, form the subject of the Adagio. At the end one of the shepherds again takes up the ranz des vaches: the other no longer replies.—Distant sound of thunder—loneliness—silence. A Ranz des Vaches or Kuhreihen is a simple melody traditionally played on the horn by the Swiss Alpine herdsmen as they drove their cattle to or from the pasture. The Kuhreihen was linked to the Swiss nostalgia and Homesickness Movement III: Scène aux champs – Scene in the fields • From 7:15 the mood begins to change and grows darker • Abrupt change of mood disturbs the tranquillity as thoughts of the beloved enter the composer’s mind (idée fixe) at 8:06 played on the flute and oboe • idée fix combined with the sigh and agitated basses and falling scales • At 9.11 considerable change of mood (Listen how Berlioz has • “But what if she were deceiving him?” • From 7:53-9.40 – Listen to this section and highlight the key changes of mood in the music? What is the state of mind of the artist now? • Jealous rages when the artist sees his beloved with someone else? • Berlioz uses the whole orchestra • Angry tremolo from the bassoons and lower strings ‘Scene in the fields’ – movie trailer • Listen to the section of music from Movement III • Draw a timeline from 0.00-1.44 LISTEN 1 • Imagine this was a movie trailer, identify the key ‘action’ or ‘cue’ points where you think something happens or changes LISTEN 2 • You know the background to the story so now be creative and think what could be happening at these action points or cues LISTEN 3 • Describe musically what is happening that led you to think about the action you described above Present your work to the other group Psycho versus Berlioz Scene in the fields – Scene from a film • • • • • • • • • • Basses play very agitated Long sustained note in Flute almost like a cry Falling scale from Idee fixe now resentful and angry Tremolo – expresses unrest, excitement and terror Use of diminished 7th chords Contrasting high pitched melody against rapid notes in the bass line Growling bass line in low strings Use of diminished chords Short staccato ff chords Off beat chords Scene in the fields – Scene from a film • What if the artist were to see his beloved in the arms of another man? What if she betrayed him? • All his strength is gone. He is left alone, sobbing and exhausted Scene in the fields – Final Scene • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psF5waV B5dY • Listen from 14:37 Outro • Spot the differences from the ‘Intro’ Scene in the fields – Final Scene • The cor anglais calls out but there is no response from the off stage oboe instead just the sound of thunder from the timpani • The thunderous answer is created by four timpani playing chords, another example of Berlioz’s innovative use of orchestration • Calling Shepherd may be referred to the artist himself calling out to his beloved the question ‘ Is my love returned?’ • The thunderous timpani seem to answer no • The sound of doom seems to ring out • Multiple attempts at a dialogue Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold The fourth movement takes on a nightmarish character: having taken opium, the young artist dreams that he has killed his true love and is about to be executed for his crime. This movement thus depicts the artist’s forced march to the scaffold. Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold • Based on two very distinct and distinctive themes • Idée fixe appears, as it does in every movement, but this time only once • Listen to the introduction. How does Berlioz foreshadow what is to come? Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold Introduction 0:00-0:31 • G minor • insistent, very controlled beating of the drums; we are waiting for something • Evokes impending doom – low double bass chords • There is an excited buzz as the distant sounds of an approaching military band are heard. • The horns repeat the first two bars of what will eventually be the full march tune. Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold Introduction 0:00-0:31 • At the opening of this movement Berlioz tells the horns to pitch their notes by the use of their lips, and with hands in the bell, ‘without using valves’ – because he wants the notes to be very quiet and slightly muffled – distant sounding Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold • • • • Listen to theme 1. Describe the musical elements How many times does it repeat Identify how the instrumentation and texture change with repetition of Theme 1 Theme 1 Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold Theme 1 – Descending theme • 2-octave span • G minor • Fierce theme spirals relentlessly downward pulling our hero with it • It is heard 5 times here - consider the changes in instrumentation and treatment of the theme in each rendition Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold Theme 1 – Descending theme • 2-octave span • G minor • Fierce theme spirals relentlessly downward pulling our hero with it • It is heard 5 times here - consider the changes in instrumentation and treatment of the theme in each rendition Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold Theme 1 – Descending theme repeats x 5 1. Cellos and double basses play theme – 2 octaves 2. Counter melody in bassoons. Higher cellos 3. Octave theme now in 1st and 2nd violins, stactatto counter melody in the lower strings, dramatic chord at the end 4. Stacatto counter melody continues in the strings, 2 octave theme again in the violins, timpani rolls and chords at the end 5. Quaver idea moves to the bassons, Violins have theme in pizzicato Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold • Listen to Theme 2 – How is it it’s character different and orchestration different? Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold Theme 2 – March Theme • Triumphant march which takes our hero to the scaffold • This is typical of military band music often heard outdoors in France in the nineteenth century • 4/4 • Bb Major • Syncopated and strong, forward-moving rhythms - The dotted rhythm of its second and third bars will supply one of the many wild figures used later in the movement • very full brass, woodwind and percussion sections (no strings at this point) • Transformation of the pastoral theme from Movement 3 Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold Listen to section 5:04 Development and Coda section How does the new texture and the treatment of the themes contribute to the suggestion that the mood of the crowd - and the man about to be executed- is close to being ‘out of control’? Movement IV - Marche au Supplice – March to the Scaffold • • • • • • Swirling violins Fortissimo to pianissimo Dramatic chords Descending theme inverted Descending scale Juxtaposed chords a tritone (6 semitones) apart – the Devil’s interval! Movement IV – March to the Scaffold • The tumultuous treatment of the scalic theme stops abruptly (the crowd is hushed?). In the brief silence, the first phrase only of the idée fixe is played (‘dolce assai e appassionato – as sweetly and passionately as possible’) by solo, unaccompanied clarinet – distant and removed • The idee fixe appears only once, as a sudden reminiscence just before the guillotine strikes the young man’s head right off and the movement comes to a perversely joyous conclusion • The only personal note is the fleeting image of the beloved that passes before the composer’s eyes at the last moment before the guillotine falls – a truncated version of the idée fixe - followed by the macabre dull thud of falling pizzicatos. • final (major) chords triumphant rejoicing (the cheers of the crowd?) at the conclusion of the ritual? Movement V • Listen to the distorted version of the idee fixe in Movement V Answering the question PRACTICE EXAM QUESTION - for submission on Monday 2 November With reference to movements II, III and IV of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique discuss a range of examples to show how instrumental music can tell a story, or suggest visual images, or express mood or character. [35 marks] What are the key moments in the piece? KEY POINTS IN THE PIECE? • The build up to the ball • The ball itself • Shepherds scene • Scene in the fields movie trailer section • Themes 1 and 2 in Movement 4 • The ending of Movement 4 - Compare the sense of glory in the march theme with the despair and loneliness of the Idee fixe in movement 4 Think about Orchestration, texture, key, Resources • http://www.rpo.org/UserFiles/Link/Berlioz.pdf • http://www.keepingscore.org/interactive/pages/berlioz/score-ideefixe • https://www.scoilnet.ie/uploads/resources/12929/12566.pdf • http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2014/aug/19/ symphony-guide-hector-berliozs-symphonie-fantastique • Ipad app - The orchestra • http://issuu.com/wrightstuffmusic/docs/idee_fixe_vs_leitmotifs • The context is extensively explored in the Norton Critical Score of the work (ed. Cone, Edward T., 1971), which also contains very clear translations of the programme and useful discussions of each movement.