Curator Melissa Wolfe talks about the inspiration we can all take away from the Columbus Museum of Arts newest exhibition showcasing the work of home town hero George Bellows. George Bellows and the American Experience through January 4, 2014. This exhibition follows on the heels of a major retrospective of the artist organized by the [...]
Symphonie Fantastique: Opiate-induced Opus to Love’s Delirium
In 1830, French composer Hector Berlioz wrote one of the most over-the-top musical expressions of love ever penned by a Romantic composer, Symphonie Fantastique: Ã‰pisode de la vie d’un Artiste…en cinq parties (Fantastic Symphony: An Episode in the Life of an Artist, in Five Parts), Op. 14.
The Symphonie Fantastique takes subjectivity in music to new heights, exploring the inner emotions of a sensitive artist. So infatuated is Berlioz with his “beloved” that when he is rejected he goes into an opium-induced delirium, a nightmare that provides the most dramatic parts of the narrative.
Michael Tilson Thomas, who has made a fine recording of this piece with the San Francisco Symphony, talks about it in general terms in this video:
But here, in greater depth, is the story behind the Symphonie fantastique and insight into how it was turned into a work of the artist’s imagination:
One of the real tricks in life seems to be the ability to tell the difference between real love and infatuation. However, to leave you with a more positive impression of the piece as a whole, Simon Rattle conducts a more harmonious section of this work when the protagonist is still happy in his idea of love: