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Grande Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale

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Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz


The work bears the designation Opus 15. The title translates from the French as "[Grand] Funeral and Triumphal Symphony."


General Info

Year: 1840
Duration: c. 30:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Kalmus
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Movements

1. Marche funèbre - c. 20:00
2. Oraison funèbre - c. 9:00
3. Apothéose - c. 3:00


Instrumentation

Full Score
Piccolo
Flute
Oboe
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
F Trumpet I-II
C Trumpet III-IV
B-flat Cornet I-II
F Horn I-II
E-flat Horn III-IV
C Horn V-VI
Trombone Solo (second movement only)
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone (optional)
Tuba (Ophicleide) I-II Timpani (optional)
Percussion, including

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Tam-Tam
  • Turkish Crescent (Jingling Johnny)

Strings (optional)
Choir (optional)

Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

The symphony was a commission by the French government to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the 1830 July Revolution which had brought Louis-Philippe to power, by erecting the July Column in the place de la Bastille, Paris. Berlioz had little sympathy for the régime, but he accepted the opportunity to write the work which brought him a payment of 10,000 francs. The Symphonie militaire (later renamed Symphonie funébre et triomphale), far from being a successor to Romeo and Juliet, represents a reversion to an earlier, pre-Beethovenian style, the monumental French tradition of public ceremonial music.

Remarkably, Berlioz claimed to have finished the score to the entire symphony in only 40 hours. This strengthens the supposition that Berlioz in fact harvested much of the musical material for the Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale from unfinished works. The first movement, the Marche funèbre, was constructed from the Fête musicale funèbre à la mémoiredes homes illustres de la France...

The symphony was originally scored for a wind band of 200 players who were to accompany the procession which moved the coffins of those who had died fighting in the 1830 revolution for reburial beneath a memorial column which had been set up on the site of the Bastille. Berlioz himself led the band. On the actual day of the parade, little of the music could be heard over the cheering crowds who lined the way. Nevertheless, the work had been such a success at the dress rehearsal that it was given two more performances in August, which sealed its reputation as one of the composer's most popular works during his lifetime.

Berlioz revised the score in January of 1842, adding an optional part for strings and a final chorus to words by Antony Deschamps. ... Richard Wagner told Robert Schumann that he found passages in the last movement of Berlioz's symphony so "magnificent and sublime that they can never be surpassed."

- Program note from Wikipedia


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Works for Winds by this Composer


References