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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Something for Thursday

I'll be using this again in a post sometime, but for now, here's a nice piece of music for our upcoming Halloween. Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique was intended by the composer to tell a story, detailing an artist's captivation by a woman (represented by a recurring melody he called the idee fixe that is heard in each movement) and his eventual descent into madness as, in the last two movements, he takes opium and begins to suffer demonic hallucinations. In the last movement, he envisions his lover as a witch, leading a horrible kind of celebration in which our hero has visions of death and other horrors. I'll provide a more detailed annotation of the Symphonie fantastique at some point in the future, but for now, here is the last movement of the work, "The Dream of the Witches' Sabbath".

(The Idee fixe is heard in the clarinet twice, first at the 1:33 mark, and then again at 1:52. A bit later on, Berlioz invokes the famous Dies irae melody, more than once. I normally don't like posting symphonic movements outside of the context of the larger work, but it's Halloween....)

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