Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Great Hector Berlioz

René Pape, Robert Massard and Ettore Bastianini
We've received a few emails about composers who were left off of our Greatest French composers list. Some that we missed were defensible (Lalo and Meyerbeer), but probably not Hector Berlioz, who was one of the titans of French music and historically significant in a number of ways. It only seems fair to highlight some of his music, although much of the great vocal music, outside of "The Damnation of Faust," is for voices other than baritone and bass.  We did find a few selections that we thought you'd enjoy.

Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a conductor, he performed several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians.[2] He also composed around 50 songs. His influence was critical for the further development of Romanticism, especially in composers like Richard Wagner, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Liszt, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and many others.

His operas include Benvenuto Cellini, Les Troyens, Béatrice et Bénédict and The Damnation of Faust.

Robert Massard sings "Ah, qui pourrait me resister?" from Berlioz's "Benvenuto Cellini":

Ettore Bastianini singing the Italian version of "The Damnation of Faust" from 1964:

René Pape sings "Voici des roses" from "The Damnation of Faust"

1 comment:

  1. I love Rene Pape's richness and tone. Sometimes I wish I was a baritone, especially since I get to hear my voice teacher every week who has a fantastic baritone voice. I guess I'll just have to settle for the low tenor that I am.. still can always enjoy hearing others :) Rene excels at Wagnerian roles, so I guess it adds up that he does equally as well with Berlioz.
    Thanks for posting this.