Berlioz Symphonie Fastastique

Posted In: Coffee Break

  • Participant
    karen-conoan on #111346

    Was just doing some research on Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique and I came across the Wikipedia article; it says the instrumentation is TWO harps.

    Participant
    Jessica Frost on #111347

    I know there are 2 distinct harp parts but I believe Berlioz wanted at least 6 harpists per part.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #111348

    If you look at a score, it says Harpes I and Harpes II, not specifying how many, but definitely more than one. But if the tempo is too fastastique, it won’t necessarily help! He wrote about it in his memoirs, which are fun to read and illuminating. I’ll see if I can correct the article partway.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #111349

    I saw nothing about orchestration.

    Participant
    Jessica Frost on #111350

    Yes his memoirs are enjoyable to read, but he mostly mentions the orchestra he’d like to work with in his treatise on orchestration.

    Participant
    Bonnie Shaljean on #111351

    Remember that the harps we are talking about would have been Grecians (Erard’s initial double-action model) which were smaller and less powerful. The “big-gig” harp that you tend to see in most photos of concert artistes of the time was the larger and louder Gothic, which didn’t make its appearance until five or six years after Symphonie Fantastique premiered.

    Therefore they would certainly have needed a whole battalion of harps.

    Participant
    karen-conoan on #111352

    Thanks, Saul, Jessica, & Bonnie and all who contribute to this thread.

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