Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz

Excerpt

This book is in no wise a biography of Hector Berlioz, some knowledge of the principal events of his life being presumed to be possessed by its readers. I have planned the several chapters almost as independent essays dealing with particular aspects of the French composer's genius as a musician and behaviour as a man; and in so doing I have endeavoured to present a true picture of the master, conscious that in some ways it may differ from that existent in many minds. I claim no more authority for my ideas than that which can be obtained from a close study of his works (both musical and literary) for very many years, together with a large acquaintance with the numerous books and articles relating to him.

Misconceptions have arisen around every composer, but possibly they are greater than usual with Berlioz, because on certain points some of his admirers seem to have joined hands with his detractors. Instead of insisting that this statement is devoid of proof and that based on erroneous premises, they have been inclined to acquiesce in the probable truth of both of them, and lamely to offer apologies in place of contradictions. For instance, some of his friends are disposed to take it for granted that much of the Memoirs is a tissue of lies, and that the German edition of his musical works faithfully represents his intentions. In the following pages I shall unfortunately be compelled to draw attention to the infidelities of the latter, since it is obviously absurd to judge a musician from a faulty text. As to the former, it is sufficient to insist here that their inaccuracies have been much exaggerated. Unless a writer's memory be so phenomenal as to be suspect, he must of necessity be hazy over a multitude of details.

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