Book Review: Hector Berlioz (First Discovery: Music)

Hector Berlioz: First Discovery - Music l LadyD Books

  • Title: Hector Berlioz
  • Author: Christian Wasselin
  • Illustrator: Charlotte Voake
  • Narrator: Michael Cantwell
  • Age Range: 7 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 6
  • Series: First Discovery: Music
  • Hardcover: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Moonlight Publishing; Har/Com edition (September 1, 2013)

    • Amazon Snippet

    Young music fans will learn in this brief biography that Berlioz was influenced all his life by the music and singing he heard at his first communion, and that his father was a doctor and wanted him to become one too. Children who have ever sung in a choir, or tried to make strange sounds by blowing into an empty bottle, will find much to enjoy in Berlioz's life and music.

    • Book Review
     Hector Berlioz was a great French Romantic composer who used orchestra, choral and opera to create fresh and exciting sounds. Use of the orchestra was ahead of his time, as seen in the composition "Symphonie Fantastique," which was his most popular work. Berlioz believed that music should grab your emotions and imagination by creating pictures and dramatic action. His music is full of unexpected turns, exciting rhythms, and unusual harmonies. Berlioz was home schooled by his father and secretly studied books about harmony and writing compositions. He never gave up hope of becoming a musician. Today Hector Berlioz is known as a great composer, but during his lifetime, audiences did not understand his music. This is a great read for music students who have an appreciation for the arts and want to become a better musician.

    5/5 stars. Recommend it.

    • Excerpt
    Later on, Hector will become a great traveller and will explore Europe from one end to the other, from London to Russia. But while he is a boy, he can only travel in his dreams.
      • History
      Hector Berlioz
      1803 - 1869

      Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works, and conducted several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians. He also composed around 50 songs. His influence was critical for the further development of Romanticism, especially in composers like Richard Wagner, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Liszt, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and many others.

      For more information, visit and you might also want to spend some time at the website,

      • Music by Henry Berlioz
      The Trojans
      Fantastic Symphony
      Harold in Italy
      The Childhood of Christ
      The Damnation of Faust
      Les Nuits d'ete

      Perhaps you would like to listen to some music by Hector Berlioz

      Hector Berlioz Photo

      • CD Recordings
      1. One fine December day- Bienvenuto Cellini, Op.23, Overture
      2. First feelings for music - L'Enfance du Christ, Op. 25, 'LAdieu des Bergers'
      3. Playing music with friends - L'Enfance du Christ, Op. 25, Trio des Ismaelites
      4. In love at twelve - Symphonic fantastique, Op. 14, 2nd movement, Un bal
      5. Setting off on his travels - Harold in Italie, Op. 16, 3rd movement, Serenade d'un montagnard des Abruzzes a sa maitresse
      6. The love of singing - La Captive, Op. 12
      7. Night and nightmares - Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14, 5th movement, Songe d'une nuit de sabbat'
      8. Opera - Les Troyens, Act 5, Dido: 'Je vais mourir'
      9. Symphonic music - Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14, 4th movement, Marche au supplice'
      10. Sacred music - L'Enfance du Christ, Op. 25, "La Fuite en Egypte,' Overture Orchestre de l'Opera de Lyon
      11. Strange works - La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24, 'La Course a l' abime': 'Dans mon coeur retentit sa voix desesperee'
      • More about this Romantic Composer
      Berlioz was born in a small French toen. He was the oldest of a doctor. His parents wanted him to become a doctor like his father, and they did not want him to be a musician. At eighteen Berlioz moved to Paris to study medicine, following his parents' wishes. He hated it, and started to take private theory lessons at the Paris Conservatory. When he quit medical school, his parents got very upset with him and stopped giving him money to live on. 

      After a few years of struggling, he won an important composition contest, in which the prize was a three-year scholarship to study at a French school in Rome, Italy. The gorgeous landscape of Italy inspired Berlioz to compose beautiful pieces of music.

      When Berlioz returned to Paris from Italy, he did not have as much success as he had hoped. He continued writing music and organizing concerts and became a very good orchestra conductor. Audiences in France still did not like his unusual music very much. Berlioz also wrote books about music and became  a respected music critic.

      In the 1840s Berlioz traveled around Europe as a conductor. Audiences in other countries were much more welcoming, and he soon became one of the most popular conductors in Europe. His concerts in Russia, England, Austria and Germany were very successful and made up for his misfortunes at home. Many great composers including Franz Liszt, appreciated his new ideas and became fans of his music. Berlioz considered moving out of France, but in the end he always returned to Paris, where he lived for the test of his life.

      • My Favorite Line
      Hector loves to listen to country people singing as they walk in processions or celebrate harvest festival. When he is seventeen, he begins to compose songs to express his feelings of love and sadness.

      Hector Berlioz (First Discovery: Music)

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