Berlioz was a musical outsider (and also, terrifyingly, a medical student) when he debuted his Symphonie Fantastique at the age of 26 at the Paris Conservatory. We get into his obsession with an Irish actor that inspired the work, how he made some of the haunting musical imagery, instruments, and the detailed program Berlioz wrote that accompanies the symphony. 


Show Notes

The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz

The original memoirs are in French (of course!), and an English translation is available here.

The ghastly sounds of the Ophecleide (a predecessor of the tuba)

It has a funny shape (think of a big saxophone with a tuba mouthpiece) and it's very difficult to play. Part of its character is the rough sound that it produces. 

The Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Myung-Whun Chung