First Nights: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique – Music in 19th Century

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Learn about Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, an iconic Romantic symphony that ushered in an era of narrative “program music.”

Last updated on June 17, 2021 12:13 pm

Introduction

Learn about Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, an iconic Romantic symphony that ushered in an era of narrative “program music.”

About this course

Six years after the premiere of Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony, composer Hector Berlioz sought to make use of the symphonic genre, but on his own terms. Indeed, he wrote not only a five-movement symphony but also a narrative program to accompany and explain the symphony.

This music course introduces students to the music and programmatic elements of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, illuminating a new direction for nineteenth-century music. The course’s grand finale is a live performance of the entire symphony by the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra.

Harvard’s Thomas Forrest Kelly (Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music) guides learners through Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique, highlighting Berlioz’s compositional process, his innovative orchestration, and the reception of his controversial piece of narrative instrumental music.
You will learn the basics of Romantic musical style, Berlioz’s creative expansion of the standard orchestra, and the debates surrounding the idea of purely musical narrative in the 19th century.

Additional First Nights Modules:

  • Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the Birth of Opera
  • Handel’s Messiah and Baroque Oratorio
  • Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony”
  • Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and Program Music in the 19th Century
  • Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring: Modernism, Ballet, and Riots

What you will learn?

  • Stylistic features of Romantic music, including program music
  • Technical details of composition and orchestration in the 19th century
  • Appreciate the cultural context and performance circumstances of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique

Syllabus

Performance of Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, by the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra section

Self-Introductions

Lesson 1: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique: Paris, 1830 section

  • Introduction
  • Paris in 1830
  • Berlioz in Paris
  • Music in Paris

Lesson 2: The Program and the Idee Fixe section

  • Romanticism and Program Music
  • The Ideé Fixe

Lesson 3: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique: The Symphony, Part 1 section

I. Reveries; passions

II. A ball

Lesson 4: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique: The Symphony, Part 2 section

III. Scene in the Fields

IV. March to the Scaffold

V. Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath

Lesson 5: Preparations, Sources, and the Premiere section

The Symphony and Its Revision

Introduction to the First Nights Series (Optional) section

  • Introduction to the First Nights Modules
  • The Second Point – The Culture
  • The Third Point, the Listener – How Do We Describe Music?

Music Theory (Optional) section

  • Introduction to Music Theory
  • Pitch Basics
  • Musical Time
  • Pitch Structure

Note: Your review matters 

If you have already done this course, kindly drop your review in our reviews section. It would help others to get useful information and better insight into the course offered.

FAQ

$99.00

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  • EDX
  • Harvard University
  • Online Course
  • Self-paced
  • Beginner
  • 1-4 Weeks
  • Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
  • English
  • Culture History Musical instruments Opera
Expert Score
9.9
Learner rating
9.9
PROS: Amazing videos and fun exercises. In detail illustration of theory, historical facts and cultural context regarding Berlioz's life. Interesting trivia from various manuscripts and memoirs you won't find anywhere else. Additional First Nights Modules.

Description

Introduction

Learn about Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, an iconic Romantic symphony that ushered in an era of narrative “program music.”

About this course

Six years after the premiere of Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony, composer Hector Berlioz sought to make use of the symphonic genre, but on his own terms. Indeed, he wrote not only a five-movement symphony but also a narrative program to accompany and explain the symphony.

This music course introduces students to the music and programmatic elements of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, illuminating a new direction for nineteenth-century music. The course’s grand finale is a live performance of the entire symphony by the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra.

Harvard’s Thomas Forrest Kelly (Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music) guides learners through Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique, highlighting Berlioz’s compositional process, his innovative orchestration, and the reception of his controversial piece of narrative instrumental music.
You will learn the basics of Romantic musical style, Berlioz’s creative expansion of the standard orchestra, and the debates surrounding the idea of purely musical narrative in the 19th century.

Additional First Nights Modules:

  • Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the Birth of Opera
  • Handel’s Messiah and Baroque Oratorio
  • Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony”
  • Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and Program Music in the 19th Century
  • Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring: Modernism, Ballet, and Riots

What you will learn?

  • Stylistic features of Romantic music, including program music
  • Technical details of composition and orchestration in the 19th century
  • Appreciate the cultural context and performance circumstances of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique

Syllabus

Performance of Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, by the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra section

Self-Introductions

Lesson 1: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique: Paris, 1830 section

  • Introduction
  • Paris in 1830
  • Berlioz in Paris
  • Music in Paris

Lesson 2: The Program and the Idee Fixe section

  • Romanticism and Program Music
  • The Ideé Fixe

Lesson 3: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique: The Symphony, Part 1 section

I. Reveries; passions

II. A ball

Lesson 4: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique: The Symphony, Part 2 section

III. Scene in the Fields

IV. March to the Scaffold

V. Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath

Lesson 5: Preparations, Sources, and the Premiere section

The Symphony and Its Revision

Introduction to the First Nights Series (Optional) section

  • Introduction to the First Nights Modules
  • The Second Point – The Culture
  • The Third Point, the Listener – How Do We Describe Music?

Music Theory (Optional) section

  • Introduction to Music Theory
  • Pitch Basics
  • Musical Time
  • Pitch Structure

Note: Your review matters 

If you have already done this course, kindly drop your review in our reviews section. It would help others to get useful information and better insight into the course offered.

FAQ

Specification:

  • EDX
  • Harvard University
  • Online Course
  • Self-paced
  • Beginner
  • 1-4 Weeks
  • Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
  • English
  • Culture History Musical instruments Opera

Videos: First Nights: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique – Music in 19th Century

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First Nights: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique – Music in 19th Century
First Nights: Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique – Music in 19th Century

$99.00

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