The Study Set from the Haunted Mansion.
*swoons* Oh my goodness! I need it!
Hector Berlioz: “Lacrimosa” (excerpt)
From the album Grande messe des morts, op. 5 (1836)
More than any other composer of the 19th century, Hector Berlioz sought to free music from the suffocating conventions of stylistic propriety, whether they took the form of rationalistic reduction or appeals to expressive immediacy. Berlioz championed sensuousness and imagination against “good taste” and conventional technique. In his great Treatise on Orchestration, first published in 1844, he declared that
"Tout corps sonore mis en oeuvre par le compositeur est un instrument de musique. (Any sounding object employed by a composer is a musical instrument.)"
Elsewhere in the this text Berlioz spoke suggestively of using the “diverse sonorous elements” of the orchestra to “produce impressions sui generis, with or without an expressive purpose, and entirely independent of the three other musical forces” of melody, harmony, and rhythm. His intrepid musical imagination reached far beyond his time to inspire the later ideas of Schoenberg’s Klangfarbenmelodie, Varese’s “liberation of sound,” and beyond.
And indeed, in 1917, the first work Varese conducted after his arrival in the United States was none other than Berlioz’s Grande messe des morts, better known as his Requiem. This composition is an excellent example of Berlioz’s orchestral mastery—perhaps even a better one than his most famous work, the Symphonie Fantastique of 1830. The Requiem features such remarkable movements as the Domine Jesu Christe, in which the chorus is limited to a single, three-note motive, and the entire drama of the music is borne by the incredibly subtle unfolding of the orchestral fabric around this austere motivic cell.
The “Lacrimosa,” on the other hand, represents what we could call “heavy metal Berlioz.” This is the kind of movement that made him reviled as a composer of sheer volume and sensational effects. (The caricature below is an expression of this popular anti-Berlioz sentiment, which survives even today in certain quarters.) The first section is dominated by a single orchestral “riff” composed of four independent but interlocking parts: a quick upward movement on the low strings, followed by a three-note syncopated figure in the woodwinds, then punctuated by two chords in the high strings and the brass. In defiance of the conventional uses and associations of the different instrumental groups, Berlioz commands the parts of the orchestra as “machines bearing intelligence but subordinate to the action of an immense keyboard played by the conductor following the directions of the composer.”
Did someone say clean
|—||"Proving Critics Wrong” (via journaling-junkie)|
need to remember this