The Other Worlds of Hector Berlioz

The Other Worlds of Hector Berlioz

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Inge van Rij
Cambridge University Press, 2/28/2015
EAN 9780521896467, ISBN10: 0521896460

Hardcover, 270 pages, 25.3 x 18.2 x 2.4 cm
Language: English

Berlioz frequently explored other worlds in his writings, from the imagined exotic enchantments of New Zealand to the rings of Saturn where Beethoven's spirit was said to reside. The settings for his musical works are more conservative, and his adventurousness has instead been located in his mastery of the orchestra, as both orchestrator and conductor. Inge van Rij's book takes a new approach to Berlioz's treatment of the orchestra by exploring the relationship between these two forms of control – the orchestra as abstract sound, and the orchestra as collective labour and instrumental technology. Van Rij reveals that the negotiation between worlds characteristic of Berlioz's writings also plays out in his music: orchestral technology may be concealed or ostentatiously displayed; musical instruments might be industrialised or exoticised; and the orchestral musicians themselves move between being a society of distinctive individuals and being a machine played by Berlioz himself.

1. Travels with the orchestra
travel writing and Berlioz's Orchestration Treatise
2. Conquering other worlds
military metaphors, virtuosity, and subjectivity in Symphonie funèbre et triomphale and Harold en Italie
3. Visions of other worlds
sensing the supernatural in Épisode de la vie d'un artiste and La nonne sanglante
4. Back to (the music of) the future
aesthetics of technology in Berlioz's Euphonia and Damnation de Faust
5. Exhibiting other worlds
Les Troyens, museum culture, and human zoos