All tagged Berlioz

What is the best way to exact revenge on a woman whose very existence torments you with pangs of jealous obsession? a) Be a creep and put compromising pictures of her on the internet. b) Pull an “O.J.” c) Keep a stiff upper lip and show that you can handle yourself with dignity; show her who’s the adult. d) Compose one of the greatest and most original symphonies in history.
There are at least two moments of indisputable greatness in Wagner’s Tannhauser: The act 2 intervention by Elizabeth to save Tannhauser’s life from the likes of Biterolf and his cruel and cowardlycohorts, and Tannhauser’s act 1 epiphanyin the valley of the Wartburg, with the unforgettable, immortal counterpoint of the shepherd boy’s lovely melody, fresh as May: “Der Mai! Der Mai!”
Berlioz has four symphonies. The Romeo et Juliette has moments of searching profundity that makes Tchaikovsky’s, Gounod’s, and Prokofiev’s settings of the story seem trivial. So why in the world would I be preparing a session in my upcoming symphony class on Berlioz’s three symphonies?
What do Balzac, et al. have to do with “McTeague”? Not too much, but readers of novels and listeners of classical music feel obligated to compare works as a means to achieve critical understanding; often as the principal means to achieve critical understanding, and in fact numerous “afterwords” published in Signet or Penguin editions, for instance, consist of little more than a string of comparisons, in place of a real analysis of the text.