Thursday, December 11, 2003


Hector Berlioz, the greatest of French composers, born on this date in 1803.

Here are two cartoons that depict the typical contemporary view of Berlioz. In the first, note the cannon in the orchestra. Berlioz never actually did include artillery in his orchestra; that had to wait for Tchaikovsky.


And below is the grave of Berlioz.

Jacques Barzun, in his amazing Berlioz and His Century, describes the funeral of Berlioz thusly:

"But before the body had reached the grave, a final Berliozian incident – never to be believed had it been recorded by a Romantic of 1830 – took place. Not far from the goal, the pair of mourning-coach steeds, black and tame as Paris undertakers themselves, suddenly seized the bit in their teeth, plowed through the brass band in front of them, and brought Berlioz alone within the gates."

(images from the Hector Berlioz bicentennial website)

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