Wednesday, December 8, 2010

March To The Scaffold - Symphonie Fantastique Movement 4

Apologies Gentle Readers, the Amateur Historian meant to post this in honor of the anniversary of the debut of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique on December 5th, but had some techincal issues trying to figure out how to link to specific times in youtube videos.

A Google search has since remedied this problem, and so the Amateur Historian would therefore like to discuss her favorite section of the Symphonie Fantastique, the fourth movement. This symphony follows a young Romantic, desperately in love with a woman who distains to even look at him. In the fourth movement, the young Romantic ODs on opium and hallucinates that he's killed his beloved and been condemned to the guillotine. After he's marched up to the scaffold, he takes a moment to think of his beloved (there is a pre-Wagnerian lietmotif associated with his beloved which returns in each movement) and then his head gets chopped off. And, best of all, there's two notes as his head thunks down two steps.

Oh Romanticism. You make the macabre kind of hilarious.

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