(1803-1869) French Romantic composer.
Exceptional autograph letter signed, two pages (both sides) - with numerous erasures and corrections, 7,5 x 10,75 inch, La Côte Saint-André (France), mid-July 1824, in French, magnificent draft from the young Berlioz to his master Jean-François Lesueur*, expressing his admiration and gratitude to him, and speaking of his first works, written and signed in dark ink "Hector Berlioz", with intersecting letter folds, mild creasing, browning, and scattered signs of wear to the edges - in nearly fine condition. Provenance: Auguste Chapot collection, then Alfred Dupont. (I, 11-12..1956, no. 18).
"A Monsieur Lesueur - membre de l `Institut - Surintendant de la Chapelle du roi [...]
Monsieur Depuis longtemps j'étais tourmenté du désir de vous écrire et je n'osais le faire, retenu par une multitude de considérations qui me paraissent à présent toutes plus ridicules les unes que les autres; je craignais de vous importuner par mes lettres, et que le désir de vous en adresser, ne vous parut avoir sa source dans l'amour-propre qu'un jeune homme doit naturellement ressentir, en correspondant avec l'un de ces hommes célèbres et rares qui étonnent leurs compatriotes autant qu'ils honorent leur pays par leur Génie et leurs connaissances.
Mais je me suis dit : cet homme rare auquel je brule d'écrire trouvera peut-être mes lettres moins importunes, si l'art sur lequel il répand tant d'éclat en est la matière. Ce grand musicien a bien voulu me permettre de suivre ses leçons, et si jamais [les élèves ont été en quelque sorte les enfans de leur maître biffé] la patience excessive et les bontés d'un maître, la reconnaissance et (j'ose le dire) l'amour filial de ses élèves lui ont acquis sur eux le titre de Père, je suis du nombre de ses enfans. J'ai été reçu de ma famille comme je m'y attendais, c'est-à-dire avec beaucoup d'empressement ; je n'ai point eu à essuyer de la part de ma mère de ces malheureuses et inutiles remontrances qui ne faisoient que nous chagriner l'un et l'autre ; cependant papa m'a recommandé par précaution de ne jamais parler de musique devant elle. J'en cause, au contraire, très souvent avec lui. Je lui ai fait part des curieuses découvertes que vous avez bien voulu me montrer, dans votre ouvrage sur la musique antique ; je ne pouvais pas venir à bout de lui persuader que les anciens connussent l'harmonie il étoit tout plein des idées de Rousseau et des autres écrivains qui ont accrédité l'opinion contraire ; mais quand je lui ai cité le passage latin qui est je crois de Pline l'ancien, dans lequel il y a des détails sur la manière d'accompagner les voix et sur la facilité que l'orchestre peut avoir à peindre les passions par le moyen des rithmes différens de celui de la vocale, il est tombé des nues et m'a avoué qu'il n'y avoit rien à répliquer à une pareille explication.
Cependant, m'a-t-il dit, je voudrois avoir l'ouvrage entre les mains pour être convaincu.
Je n'ai encore rien fait depuis que je suis ici, d'abord je n'ai pas été maître de mon temps, pendant les premières semaines les visites à recevoir et les visites à rendre, dans une petite ville où tout le monde se connaît, me l'absorboient presqu'en entier ; puis quand j'ai voulu me mettre à cette messe dont je vous avois parlé, je suis demeuré si froid, si glacé en lisant le Credo et le Kirie, que bien convaincu que je ne pourrai jamais rien faire de supportable dans une pareille disposition d'esprit, j'y ai renoncé. Je me suis mis à retoucher cet oratorio du Passage de la mer Rouge que je vous avois montré il y a sept ou huit mois et que je trouve à présent terriblement barbouillé dans certains endroits. J'espère pouvoir le faire exécuter à St Roch à mon retour ; qui aura lieu je crois avant les premiers jours d'août.
En attendant que j'aie le plaisir de vous revoir, Monsieur, mon père me charge d'être l'interprète de ses sentimens auprès de vous et de vous témoigner toute sa reconnaissance pour les soins que vous m'avez prodigués ; vous ne doutez pas, Monsieur, que j'en sois pénétré moi-même, veuillez en recevoir l'assurance avec mes salutations respectueuses.
Votre dévoué serviteur et élève - Hector Berlioz
"To Monsieur Lesueur - member of the Institute - Superintendent of the King's Chapel [...]
Monsieur For a long time I had been tormented by the desire to write to you and I dared not do it, held back by a multitude of considerations which now seem to me all more ridiculous than each other; I feared to bother you with my letters, and that the desire to address them to you seemed to have its source in the self-esteem which a young man must naturally feel, in corresponding with one of these famous and unusual men who amaze their countrymen as much as they honor their country with their genius and knowledge.
But I said to myself: this rare man to whom I burn to write will perhaps find my letters less importunate, if the art on which he spreads so much brilliance is the material. This great musician was good enough to allow me to follow his lessons, and if ever [the students were in a way the children of their master crossed out] the excessive patience and kindness of a master, the gratitude and (I dare say it) the filial love of his pupils have won him over them the title of Father, I am one of his children. I was received by my family as I expected, that is to say with great eagerness; I did not have to suffer from my mother those unfortunate and useless remonstrances which only saddened us both; however Papa advised me as a precaution never to talk about music in front of her. On the contrary, I question it very often with him. I told him of the curious discoveries that you kindly showed me in your work on ancient music; I could not succeed in persuading him that the ancients knew harmony; he was full of the ideas of Rousseau and other writers who have accredited the contrary opinion; but when I quoted to him the Latin passage which I believe is from Pliny the elder, in which there are details on the manner of accompanying the voices and on the ease which the orchestra can have in depicting the passions by using different rhythms from that of the vocal, he fell from the clouds and confessed to me that there was nothing to reply to such an explanation.
However, he told me, I would like to have the book in my hands to be convinced.
I haven't done anything since I've been here, first I haven't been in control of my time, during the first weeks the visits to be received and the visits to be made,
in a small town where everyone knows each other, absorbed me almost entirely; then when I wanted to go to that mass I had told you about, I remained so cold, so frozen while reading the Credo and the Kirie, that I was well convinced that I could never do anything endurable in such a state of mind. mind, I gave it up. I started retouching that oratorio from Passage de la Mer Rouge which I showed you seven or eight months ago and which I now find terribly smeared in certain places. I hope to be able to have it performed at St Roch on my return; which will take place I believe before the first days of August.
While waiting for me to have the pleasure of seeing you again, Monsieur, my father asks me to be the interpreter of his feelings to you and to show you all his gratitude for the care you have lavished on me; you do not doubt, sir, that I am penetrated by it myself, please accept the assurance of it with my respectful greetings.
Your devoted servant and pupil - Hector Berlioz
* At the beginning of 1823, Berlioz had been admitted among the private pupils of Lesueur, against the advice of his mother, opposed to his musical vocation.
Returning in 1824 for the summer holidays in his native town, Berlioz had to leave in secret on 25 July for Paris, where he was going to compose his `Messe solennelle`, which was premiered at Saint-Roch on 25 July 1825.
Besides this Mass, he evokes in this letter his `oratorio` (lost), `Le Passage de la Mer Rouge`, which are among his earliest compositions.
Paiement sécurisé et sûr
AI generated biography of Louis-Hector Berlioz
Louis-Hector Berlioz was a French composer and conductor of the Romantic era. He is best known for his dramatic orchestral works, such as Symphonie fantastique and the Requiem. Berlioz was born in 1803 in France, and he is widely recognized as one of the greatest composers of all time.
Berlioz was born into a musical family; his father was a physician, but he was also an amateur musician. During his childhood, Berlioz was taught to play the flute, guitar, and piano. He also received instruction in composition and music theory from his father. His earliest compositions were for small ensembles and chamber music.
Berlioz attended the Paris Conservatory, where he studied composition and conducting. His teachers included Luigi Cherubini, Pierre Gaveaux, and François-Joseph Fétis. His studies at the Conservatory enabled him to become one of the first composers of the Romantic era to incorporate elements of Beethoven’s style into his own works.
Berlioz made several trips to Italy, Germany, and England in order to gain exposure to the music of other countries. He also wrote and published several books, including the Treatise on Instrumentation and The Art of Music. These works are still widely read today and serve as important reference works for modern composers.
Berlioz wrote many works for orchestra, including symphonies, operas, and concertos. He also wrote several choral works, including the Requiem and the Te Deum. His works were often very dramatic, and he was one of the first composers to use the power of the orchestra to create a sense of grandeur and emotion in his music. He was also one of the first composers to use program music, which is music that tells a story.
Berlioz’s works were often controversial and drew criticism from his contemporaries. Despite the criticism, his music was admired by many, and he was a major influence on other composers such as Tchaikovsky and Wagner. He died in 1869 at the age of 66, but his music is still widely performed and appreciated today.