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Berlioz Symphonie fantastique

Hector Berlioz’s fantastic symphony – Symphonie fantastique – is aflame with energy, powerful desire and the unreserved heat of love. The legendary Herbert Blomstedt leads the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in one of the great masterpieces of classical music.

Herbert Blomstedt is one of the world's most admired conductors and by far Sweden’s most successful and famous conductor internationally. He debuted with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in 1954 and since then he has conducted the orchestra far more than 200 times. In conjunction with Blomstedt’s 90th birthday and the guest performance in 2018, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra named their main conductor’s lounge after him.

Berlioz saw the actress Harriet Smithson perform as Ophelia in a rendition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and fell in love. Affected by his emotions, in Symphonie fantastique he paints the story of a sensitive young musician with a strong and lively imagination. Berlioz describes this himself: “He finds himself in the darkest depths of hopeless despair and wretched love. In frustration, he poisons himself with opium, but the drug is not strong enough to take his life. Instead, he enters a deep state of sleep filled with grotesque visions. Emotions, feelings and memories are transformed into musical images and ideas as they glide through his afflicted brain. His beloved is transformed into a melody, a returning theme, an ‘idée fixe’ which plagues him incessantly.”

We follow the young musician in the music: he attends a ball and takes a walk in the open air; we hear his execution after he believes that he has taken the life of his beloved. It all culminates in the final movement’s fateful and dramatic Witches’ Sabbath.

  • The music

  • Hector Berlioz Symphonie fantastique
  • Participants

  • Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Herbert Blomstedt conductor
  • Filmed in May 2018.
  • The video is approximately 58 minutes. 

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