The Hector Berlioz Website

Berlioz: Predecessors and Contemporaries

Berlioz and Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven Introduction
The champion of Beethoven: the music critic
The champion of Beethoven: the conductor

Available scores of Beethoven

Notes on the available scores


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‘A work greater than his greatest symphonies, greater than anything he wrote, and consequently greater than anything ever produced by the art of music’

Berlioz on a performance by Mme Massart late in 1860 of Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata (op. 57, in F Minor), reproduced in À travers chants in the chapter entitled ‘Les temps sont proches’

    It seems a curious coincidence that the composer whom Berlioz came to regard as the greatest of all, and whose music had such an influence on his own, was nevertheless a relatively late comer in Berlioz’s formative period – the last in fact of the major musical influences he experienced in the 1820s in Paris. The discovery of Gluck came almost from the moment of Berlioz’s arrival in Paris in late 1821; Gluck was closely followed by Spontini the year after, then Weber in 1824-5. The revelation of Shakespeare came a little later, with the performances in 1827 by the English actors at the Odéon theatre. Writing of the mid 1820s Berlioz later said ‘I had only read two symphonies of Beethoven and heard one andante, and he appeared to me like a sun in the distance, but one obscured by thick clouds’ (Memoirs, chapter 14).


    The precise point at which the revelation came is unclear, though it was around the end of 1827 and very early in 1828 (the Memoirs do not mention any precise occasion). The letters of Berlioz before this time betray no special awareness of Beethoven. But in a letter to his sister Nanci dated 10 January 1828 (Correspondance générale no. 79, hereafter CG for short), commenting on Thomas Moore and his understanding of music, he writes ‘It is when you have heard the sublime instrumental compositions of the eagle Beethoven that you can see how right the poet is in exclaiming: "O divine music, speech is powerless and weak, and yields to your magic"’. This implies a powerful and recent experience: it may have been a concert at the Conservatoire on 30 November 1827, at which an overture by Beethoven was played (it is not known which). This was therefore sooner than the start of the celebrated series of concerts by the newly founded Société des Concerts du Conservatoire in March 1828.

    Compared to others Berlioz was thus a late-comer to Beethoven, and the reasons for this are readily apparent. Gluck and Spontini were operatic composers, whose work became familiar to Berlioz through performances at the Paris Opéra, at the time the leading musical institution in France. It was again at the theatre that he discovered Weber, whose instrumental genius was manifested not in his purely symphonic output but in his great operatic works (Freischütz, Euryanthe, Oberon). Beethoven, on the other hand, apart from his single opera Fidelio and a few choral works, was a primarily instrumental composer. No pianist himself, Berlioz was dependent on others for the performance of piano music, such as his friend Ferdinand Hiller who helped to introduce him to Beethoven’s piano works in 1829 (CG nos. 117, 138, 148), and Camille Moke in 1830 (CG nos. 168, 169, 173, 176). This remained the case in later years: Berlioz had frequently occasion to comment on Liszt’s championing of Beethoven’s piano works (e.g. CG nos. 622, 660, 992; Critique Musicale vol. II, p. 474; vol. III, pp. 69-71, 129f.). One of Berlioz’s special delights in the 1860s was listening to Beethoven played by his friend Mme Massart (CG nos. 2766, 2832, 2944, 2985, 3157). Nor was Berlioz a string player, and this similarly delayed his acquaintance with Beethoven’s chamber music.

    It thus needed special circumstances for Beethoven’s music to become known to the wider public in Paris, and the credit for this belongs above all to the violinist and conductor François Habeneck (1781-1849). The friction and rivalry that developed later between Habeneck and the much younger Berlioz is well known from the Memoirs (for example the account of the first performance of the Requiem in 1837). But Berlioz openly acknowledged Habeneck’s achievement (Memoirs, chapter 20):

In the life of an artist thunderclaps sometimes follow each other in quick succession as in great storms, when the clouds, charged with electricity, seem to bounce lightning around and blow up a hurricane.

I had just had a double vision of Shakespeare and Weber, when immediately on another point of the horizon I saw the immense figure of Beethoven arise. The shock I received was almost comparable to that from Shakespeare. He opened up a new world in music, just as the poet had unveiled to me a new universe in poetry.

The Société des Concerts du Conservatoire had just been formed under the active and dedicated direction of Habeneck. Despite the serious flaws in this artist and his cavalier treatment of the great master he worshipped, his good intentions, indeed his talent deserve recognition, and justice requires that to him alone should belong the glory and credit for popularising Beethoven’s works in Paris. He had to work hard to succeed in creating the fine institution which is now famous in the whole civilised world. He had to communicate his enthusiasm to numerous musicians whose indifference would turn to hostility when they were faced with the prospect of numerous rehearsals and hard work that brought no material gain. This was necessary if they were to achieve a high standard of execution in works which at the time were known only for their eccentric difficulties in performance.

It was not the least of his troubles that he also had to contend with the sullen opposition, half-disguised criticism, sarcasm and reticence of French and Italian composers. They were anything but pleased to see a temple built to a German composer whose works they regarded as monstrosities, but which nevertheless were a threat to themselves and their school. What outrageous nonsense I have heard various people say on these marvels of skill and inspiration!

    Habeneck’s championing of Beethoven started well before 1828. From 1806 to 1815 he conducted an orchestra of students from the Conservatoire in a number of public concerts (Exercices publics) in which Beethoven’s first 3 symphonies were played. He continued to promote Beethoven when placed in charge of the Opéra’s Concerts Spirituels in 1818. But the turning point came with the foundation of the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire by ministerial decree on 15 February 1828; it gave its first concert the following month (9 March) with Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony as the major item on the programme. The primary aim of the institution was the performance of works of German composers, Haydn, Weber, and especially Beethoven, and many concerts were to follow in subsequent years. They soon achieved fame throughout musical Europe for the generally high quality of their performances of Beethoven, and attracted audiences from abroad for years to come.

    Though a late-comer to Beethoven, Berlioz was quick to grasp the significance of what he heard. The impact of Beethoven on Berlioz in 1828 and after can be traced through the composer’s correspondence: references to Beethoven suddenly multiply and are particularly frequent in the letters of 1829 and 1830. Almost from the start Beethoven’s stature was self-evident to Berlioz: ‘immense’, ‘colossal’, ‘sublime’, ‘a giant’, ‘a Titan’, these are the words that constantly recur under his pen now and later, and Beethoven’s works are regularly described by him as ‘marvels’. Beethoven’s slow movements impressed him particularly, and evoked for Berlioz the metaphor of an eagle soaring aloft. In a letter to his father he writes ‘this is no longer music but a new art’ (CG no. 107; 20 December 1828). True to his method, he started to study Beethoven’s scores and soon knew them intimately: in time he probably knew all the published music of Beethoven. Though Weber outclassed Beethoven in the dexterity and inventiveness of his orchestral writing, Beethoven became for Berlioz the touchstone of all instrumental music. It was appropriate that in his Treatise on Orchestration of 1844 citations from Beethoven should equal in number those from Gluck; the purely instrumental citations outnumber those of any other composer. His attitude to Beethoven’s symphonies is summed up in a letter to his friend Auguste Morel (CG no. 2596; 2 March 1862):

As far as symphonies are concerned, Mozart wrote 17 of which 3 are beautiful and even then… The good Haydn produced a quantity of pretty things of that kind. Beethoven wrote seven masterpieces but Beethoven is not human. And when you are only a human being you should not pass judgement on the God.

    Berlioz was also quick to grasp the special significance of Beethoven’s chamber and instrumental music. His friend Ferdinand Hiller introduced him to the piano music in 1829, and in the same year Berlioz had his first direct experience of the late string quartets in performances given by a group led by the violinist Baillot (the teacher of Habeneck, and leader of the Opéra orchestra). A letter to his sister Nanci of 29 March 1829 (CG no. 120) relates the enormous impression made on him by the C sharp minor quartet (op. 131) at one of these concerts (also played was the quartet in F op. 135; cf. too Critique Musicale I p. 55-57). While the musical public in Paris soon came to accept Beethoven’s greatness as a symphonic writer, it was much slower in accepting the chamber and instrumental music. But Berlioz insisted on many occasions subsequently that Beethoven’s greatest music was to be found there (e.g. Critique Musicale I, pp. 136-8 [in 1834], III, pp. 33-36, 67-71 [in 1837]). Throughout his career and his travels abroad he was always on the lookout for devoted interpreters of this music (for example Memoirs, First Visit to Germany, 6th letter: the Müller quartet in Brunswick; First Visit to Germany, 10th letter: Anton Bohrer and his family in Hanover; Second Visit to Germany, 2nd letter: the Mayseder quartet in Vienna). During his stay in London in 1851 to act as judge of musical instruments at the Great Exhibition it was a special joy for Berlioz to be staying at 27 Queen Anne Street: the meetings of the Beethoven Quartet Society took place in the same building and Berlioz was able to hear the performances by leaving the door of his room open. In his final years he was glad to take the opportunity to attend concerts of Beethoven’s chamber music (CG nos. 2877, 3001) as well as Mme Massart’s playing of the sonatas.

    (See also the Recollections by Ernest Legouvé in which he describes Berlioz’s admiration for Beethoven, esp. §§IV, VI and IX)

The champion of Beethoven: the music critic

    Berlioz regarded himself as one of Beethoven’s champions in France, against those of the old school who remained hostile to the new music. He relates for example his attempt to win over his own teacher Lesueur at a performance of the 5th Symphony at the Conservatoire, but to his great regret Lesueur, though initially shaken by the experience, preferred to keep his distance (Memoirs chapter 20). Imperviousness to Beethoven’s genius was something Berlioz treated with scorn (for example Memoirs chapter 46). In practice Beethoven was less in need of advocacy than Berlioz’s earlier idols Gluck and Spontini, who belonged to an older school and could be dismissed as less progressive than the modern masters Beethoven and Weber. There was in Europe, at least in Germany and France, a growing band of Beethoven admirers even before Berlioz had made the discovery for himself: Habeneck is an obvious illustration. From 1828 onwards much of Beethoven’s orchestral music was regularly performed in Paris by an orchestra that was acknowledged at the time as the finest in Europe. Though the instrumental and chamber music commanded less of an audience it had its champions in Paris, and was less expensive to put on. Berlioz was an avid listener at many of these concerts of orchestral and chamber music in the period 1828-1830, then again from 1833 onwards after his return from Italy.

    Berlioz’s distinctive contribution to the promotion of Beethoven thus came initially not through performances directed by himself but through his critical writings. As early as 1829 he published a biography of Beethoven in 3 instalments, the first of his biographical assessments of composers he particularly admired (Critique Musicale I, pp. 47-61); Gluck and Spontini only came later. In the same year he wrote an article for a German journal in which he described in detail the new Société des Concerts du Conservatoire and emphasised the significance of its foundation (Critique Musicale I, pp. 41-5). After his return from Italy late in 1832 he started to write a series of detailed studies of Beethoven’s symphonies, prompted by the regular performances at the Conservatoire; these were published in a number of journals, especially the Journal des Débats and the Revue et gazette musicale de Paris (all reproduced in Critique Musicale I-III). At first, from 1833 to 1836 the sequence of the studies was dictated by the timing of the performances; in this period he covered in detail Symphonies 2-8, the most frequently performed. In 1838 he decided to draw the studies together into a continuous sequence without following the order of the performances: the aim was to illustrate the development of Beethoven’s symphonic writing. He also now added a study of the 1st symphony, hitherto neglected and the least frequently performed of the symphonies, and a study of the 9th which he had deliberately postponed until he felt ready to assess the work. Unlike the other symphonies which had all been accepted by the Paris public, the 9th remained controversial and evoked contradictory assessments: Berlioz firmly pronounced it ‘the most magnificent expression of Beethoven’s genius’. These studies of the 1830s formed the basis of the chapters on Beethoven which Berlioz collected later with few changes in À travers chants (1862), where Beethoven comes first in the volume, ahead of Gluck and Weber, and recurs in later chapters (23, 28) as well (the full text of his Critical Study of the Symphonies of Beethoven is available on this site both in the original French and in English translation). Other studies on Beethoven were included by Berlioz in the Second Epilogue of Les Soirées de l’orchestre: a review of W. von Lenz’s study of the "Three Styles" of Beethoven, and an account of the celebrations in Bonn for the inauguration of Beethoven’s statue in August 1845 which Berlioz attended. It should be noted that although Berlioz always insisted that Beethoven’s greatest work was to be found in his piano and chamber music, which he knew intimately, he never wrote detailed studies of this music to match those of the symphonies.

The champion of Beethoven: the conductor

    Because Beethoven was so well catered for in Paris, the idea of conducting Beethoven himself did not occur to Berlioz for some time. In Paris Berlioz actually conducted few performances of Beethoven: for example, the last two movements of the 5th Symphony were played by him at the great concert at the Palais de l’Industrie on 1 August 1844, but that was a special occasion, and not very effective in practice because of the large number of players involved and the reverberant acoustic (Memoirs chapter 53). In 1860 he was able to assist in the successful production of Fidelio at the Théâtre Lyrique with Pauline Viardot in the title role. This prompted two articles on the opera (Journal des Débats 19 May and 22 May 1860), which incited a warm exchange of letters between Wagner and Berlioz, temporarily united in their admiration for the work (CG nos. 2503-4); the articles were later included in À travers chants (1862). Apart from regular performances of individual movements of symphonies or shorter pieces at Baden-Baden (in 1856, 1857, 1858, 1860 and 1861), it was only on two occasions that Berlioz was able to present under his baton a significant number of works by Beethoven. In London in 1852 he gave a series of 6 concerts at Exeter Hall, all of which included works by Beethoven; the highlight was a performance of the 9th Symphony on 12 May (repeated on 9 June), for which no less than 7 rehearsals were needed, and it came as a revelation to the London audience (CG nos. 1488, 1495). It was a performance Berlioz himself long remembered as one of the high points of his conducting career (CG no. 3287, in October 1867). It was no doubt with his experiences in London in mind that Berlioz set out at the end of his career on his last concert tour in Russia in winter 1867-1868: Beethoven and Gluck were the largest contributors to the programmes, though the projected performance of the 9th Symphony did not take place because of the inadequacy of the chorus available. But the standard of performance of the other works played was very high, as contemporary accounts suggest, and Berlioz was pleased: ‘What an orchestra! what precision! what ensemble! I don’t know whether Beethoven ever heard his music performed in this way’ (CG no. 3315; 15 December 1867).


    Though Berlioz consistently championed Beethoven’s chamber and instrumental music, he did not attempt to emulate Beethoven in this field. As is well known Berlioz’s instrumental music is conspicuous by its rarity. Apart from the 3 pieces for Alexandre’s melodium organ, written in response to a commission, the only piece of genuine chamber music in Berlioz is the trio for two flutes and harp in Part III of l’Enfance du Christ. The only passage he apparently ever wrote for string quartet occurs in a most unusual setting and form, in the finale of Harold in Italy when the theme of the second movement is recalled briefly, played by two violins and a cello behind the scene, with the solo viola separately in the orchestra (bars 473-500). Not a piano player himself, it might be argued that Berlioz’s avoidance of solo piano music is a simple reflection of that fact, though the question may not be so straightforward. He was familiar with the basic technique of all musical instruments, and had sought the advice and expertise of instrumental players from his earliest days in Paris; many of them were his friends. There was indeed no a priori reason why Berlioz should not have written string quartets and piano trios as Beethoven had done.

    The truth may be simply that the orchestra, with or without the addition of voices, was Berlioz’s natural domain. His earliest impressions of performances at the Opéra emphasised the role of the orchestra. When he discovered the music of Weber, what may struck him particularly was Weber’s mastery of the orchestra as displayed in the overtures (Der Freischütz, Oberon): the orchestra was capable of sustaining by itself the whole dramatic argument, without the assistance of voices. But Weber had not developed into a great symphonist. With the discovery of Beethoven Berlioz soon realised that he had found his own way forward. As he says in a letter to a friend on 11 January 1829 (CG no. 111):

Now that I have broken the shackles of routine, I can see a huge field opening up, which academic rules were preventing me from entering. Now that I have heard this terrifying giant Beethoven, I know what stage musical art has reached, and the aim is to take it from there and push it further… not actually further, that is impossible, he has reached the limits of art, but as far in another direction. There is a great deal of new work to be done, I can feel it with great energy; and be assured I will do it if I live.

    The first result was the Symphonie Fantastique of 1830. The work is evidently not one that Beethoven himself would ever have written, but it could not have been composed without the influence of Beethoven. The 3rd movement, for example, is an obvious homage to the Pastoral Symphony, which Berlioz admired so much. But this was only a start. When early in 1831 he wisely cut short his project to return to Paris from Italy to assassinate Camille Moke and her mother, he makes this significant comment in a letter to his mother (CG no. 219; 21 April 1831, from Nice):

My young and sublime orchestra, we will meet again!… We have great things to do together. There is a musical America, Beethoven was its Colombus, I shall be its Pizarro or Cortez.

    Suggestive too is a comment from a letter of 1863 about the difference between the orchestra in the theatre pit and the orchestra in a concert hall (CG no. 2714):

A theatre orchestra is a slave, and behaves like a slave placed in an underground pit; an orchestra in the concert hall is a king placed on a throne.

    The 1830s and early 1840s could be described as the ‘Beethoven period’ in Berlioz’s creative output: his four symphonies date from this decade, and thereafter Berlioz’s creative energies turned in other directions. (There is the tragic and tantalising story of a symphony in A minor that he dreamed of in 1852, but deliberately did not write because of financial and personal worries — Memoirs chapter 59.) Harold in Italy (1834) has deliberate echoes of Beethoven, notably in the device of thematic recall at the start of the last movement (an obvious reference to the finale of the 9th Symphony), and also in the return of the theme of the Pilgrim’s March later in that same movement (bars 473-500, comparable to the return of the Scherzo in the finale of the 5th Symphony). Romeo and Juliet (1839) is Berlioz’s version of a choral symphony – Berlioz had in fact already toyed with the idea of introducing a chorus in Harold in Italy. The Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale, at first purely instrumental in its original version (1840), later introduced a chorus in the finale in its revised version (1842). The work invites comparison with parts of the Eroica symphony (notably the second movement), which Berlioz significantly described as a ‘funeral oration for a dead hero’ (Critique Musicale III p. 106), which recalls the ‘oraison funèbre’ in the second movement of Berlioz’s work.

    No wonder then that from the 1830s onwards critics and commentators not infrequently linked the names of Berlioz and Beethoven and presented Berlioz as being in some sense heir to the German master (thus for example Théophile Gautier in December 1839, after the second performance of Romeo and Juliet). The compliment was paid publicly by none other than Paganini in December 1838: his letter to Berlioz announcing his gift of 20,000 francs started with the words ‘Beethoven dead, only Berlioz was able to bring him back to life’ (CG no. 600; Memoirs chapter 49). No wonder also that in his travels to Germany Berlioz was often conscious of the presence of the great master. In August 1845 he attended the celebrations in Bonn for the inauguration of Beethoven’s statue (see the account in the Soirées de l’orchestre, 2nd Epilogue). In Vienna later the same year and the next it was a particularly moving experience for him to conduct his own music in the same Redoutensaal where Beethoven had played his works several decades earlier (Memoirs, Second Visit to Germany, 2nd Letter).

    There are numerous individual echoes of Beethoven’s music in Berlioz, more so perhaps than for any other of the composers Berlioz admired, Gluck not excepted. The echoes may be deliberate at times, at others not: because of Berlioz’s preference for allusion over explicit statement it is not always easy to decide which is the case. Such echoes will be mentioned in each individual case in relation to the scores of Beethoven that are included on this site.

    Despite such echoes, and other influences that can be traced (such as the use of instrumental recitative, derived from Beethoven), Berlioz inhabits a different world from Beethoven. Mere imitation was excluded from the start: throughout his career Berlioz always sought to be distinctive and original, and would never repeat himself, let alone any predecessors. Furthermore, whatever the influence of Beethoven on Berlioz’s orchestral music there were always other influences at work. Every one of Berlioz’s major works represents the convergence and assimilation of a series of different influences, musical but also literary. Before embarking on what became the Symphonie Fantastique he wrote that he had in mind a ‘descriptive symphony of Faust’ (CG no. 113; 2 February 1829); the Memoirs confirm that the work was written while he was still under the influence of Goethe, whose Faust he had recently read (chapter 26). The Memoirs ascribe the model for Harold in Italy to Byron’s Childe Harold (chapter 45). Romeo and Juliet, whatever the influence of Beethoven, is explicitly a homage to Shakespeare, whose name is celebrated in the contralto’s Strophes in the introduction.

    Note: for a detailed discussion of the possible influence of Beethoven on one particular work by Berlioz, the Waverley overture, see the article by Diana Bickley elsewhere on this site.


    A recurring trait of Berlioz was his hankering for personal closeness with those artistic figures he admired most: Beethoven belonged to the very select few who were in that category. As he wrote in a letter to his old friend Humbert Ferrand (CG no. 2928; 10 November 1864):

Would you believe, my dear Humbert, that I am too weak to be reconciled with the past? I cannot understand why I have not known Virgil; I seem to imagine him dreaming in his villa in Sicily; he must have been gentle, welcoming and courteous. And Shakespeare, indifference itself, impassive like a mirror that reflects objects. Yet he must have felt immense pity for everything. And Beethoven, contemptuous and rough, and yet gifted with such deep sensitivity. I think I could have forgiven him everything, his scorn and his brutality. And Gluck the proud and magnificent!…

    The concluding paragraphs of the Memoirs, dated 1st January 1865 and written barely a month after this letter, give a more personal twist to the same point:

I must try to console myself for not having been known to her earlier [Estelle Fornier, his childhood love], just as I console myself for not having known Virgil, whom I would have loved so much, or Gluck, or Beethoven… or Shakespeare… who might have loved me. The truth is that I remain inconsolable. [...]

Available scores of Beethoven

An *asterisk indicates that the score is cited by Berlioz in his Treatise on Orchestration

Third Symphony (Eroica), first movement (duration 17'37")
— Score in large format
(file created on 29.2.2004)

Third Symphony (Eroica), second movement (duration 13'57")
— Score in large format
(file created on 16.3.2004)

*Third Symphony (Eroica), third movement (duration 6'31")
— Score in large format
(file created on 7.2.2003)

*Third Symphony (Eroica), fourth movement (duration 11'23")
— Score in large format
(file created on 3.8.2003)

*Fourth Symphony, second movement (duration 8'42")
— Score in large format
(file created on 12.1.2003)

*Fifth Symphony, first movement (duration 6'53")
— Score in large format
(file created on 14.2.2003)

*Fifth Symphony, second movement (duration 9'39")
— Score in large format

(file created on 15.8.2003)

*Fifth Symphony, third and fourth movements (duration 4'46" and 10'46", total 15'32")
— Score in large format
(files created on 3.10.2003 and 8.12.2003)

Sixth Symphony (Pastoral), first movement (duration 11'43")
— Score in large format
(file created on 2.4.2004)

Sixth Symphony (Pastoral), second movement (duration 11'12")
— Score in large format
(file created on 19.4.2004)

*Sixth Symphony (Pastoral), third, fourth and fifth movements (duration 5'18", 3'53" and 8'54", total 18'05")
— Score in large format
(files created on 1.4.2003 and 25.1.2004)

*Seventh Symphony, first movement (duration 13'20")
— Score in large format
(file created on 14.9.2003)

*Seventh Symphony, second movement (duration 7'20")
— Score in large format
(file created on 1.5.2003)

*Seventh Symphony, third movement (duration 7'31")
— Score in large format
(file created on 13.10.2003)

Seventh Symphony, fourth movement (duration 9'01")
— Score in large format

(file created on 1.1.2004)

*Piano Concerto no. 5, second movement (duration 6'51")
— Score in large format
(file created on 8.7.2003)

Notes on the available scores

Third Symphony in E flat op. 55 (Eroica) (complete)

    First movement: The tempo for this movement has been set at dotted minim = 48, significantly slower than Beethoven’s metronome mark of dotted minim = 60 which few performances attempt.

    Second movement: The tempo for this movement has been set at quaver = 72, faster than most modern performances yet slower than Beethoven’s metronome mark of quaver = 80. (Note: it has been necessary to omit a series of grace notes following a trill in bars 117-133, as the software does not reproduce them correctly.)

    Third movement: Berlioz cites in full the Trio from this movement in the Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapter on the horn (to illustrate the use of stopped notes). There may be an echo of this passage in Berlioz’s song (with horn accompaniment) Le Jeune pâtre breton, which shows a number of striking similarities with the trio of Beethoven’s symphony.

    The tempo for this movement has been set at dotted minim = 100 (slower than Beethoven’s metronome mark of dotted minim = 116).

    Fourth movement: Berlioz cites bars 348-372 [354-378 in this transcription] in his Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapter on the oboe. (Note: because of a bug in the software affecting repeat bars it has been necessary to modify the notation of bars 45 to 75, which adds an extra 6 bars to the notation of the movement as a whole, though the music itself remains affected).

    The tempi for this movement have been set as follows. Allegro molto, minim = 63; Poco Andante, quaver = 80; Presto, crotchet = 100 (Beethoven’s markings are all faster: Allegro molto, minim = 76; Poco Andante, quaver = 108; Presto, crotchet = 116).

    See also Berlioz’s critical essay on this symphony.

Fourth Symphony in B flat op. 60

    This symphony was a particular favourite of Berlioz’s, who played it at his concerts in Russia in 1867-8. He admired especially the slow movement, which he mentions a number of times in his writings – in a letter to his friend Humbert Ferrand he once relates hearing it in a dream (CG no. 2335; 26 November 1858). He cites the movement twice in the Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapters on the violin and on the timpani.

    Second movement: the tempo for this movement has been set at quaver = 72 (well slower than Beethoven’s metronome mark of quaver = 84 which few performances follow, but faster than some modern performances).

    See also Berlioz’s critical essay on this symphony.

Fifth Symphony in C minor op. 67 (complete)

    First movement: Berlioz cites part of the coda of this movement in the Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapter on the violin (to illustrate the doubling of first and second violins in unison).

    The tempo for this movement has been set at minim = 96 (slower than Beethoven’s metronome mark of minim = 108).

    Second movement: Berlioz cites the beginning of this movement in the Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapter on the viola (to illustrate the doubling of violas and cellos in unison).

    The tempi for this movement has been set as follows: Andante con moto, quaver = 76, più mosso, quaver = 104 (Beethoven’s markings are respectively quaver = 92 and quaver = 116).

    Third movement: Berlioz cites this movement no less than three times in his Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapters on the bassoon, the violin (pizzicato), and the timpani.

    The tempo for this movement has been set at dotted minim = 84 (slower than Beethoven’s metronome mark of dotted minim = 96).

    Fourth movement: the tempi for this movement follow those of Beethoven (Allegro: minim = 84; Presto: semibreve = 112).

    See also Berlioz’s critical essay on this symphony.

Sixth Symphony in F major op. 68 (Pastoral) (complete)

    The Pastoral symphony was another special favourite of Berlioz’s, who frequently mentions it in his writings, and performed it at his concerts in Russia in 1867. There are obvious echoes of the work in the slow movement of the Symphonie fantastique, and the storm (4th movement) may well have been at the back of Berlioz’s mind when he wrote the Royal Hunt and Storm in Les Troyens (compare in particular the end of both pieces). He cites parts of the third and fourth movements in his Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapters on the double-bass, piccolo, and oboe.

    First movement: the tempo for this movement has been set at minim = 56, slower than Beethoven’s mark of minim = 60.

    Second movement: the metronome mark, dotted crotchet = 50, is Beethoven’s (slightly faster than most modern performances).

    In this movement grace notes following trills present problems of notation and playback with the software used; it has been necessary to omit those in bars 47 and 77, and to notate those in bars 11, 33-37, 86-7, 105-9, 126 and 128 as normal notes with their effective duration.

    Third and fourth movements: the metronome marks are those of Beethoven, except for the main tempo of the scherzo which has been set at dotted minim = 96 (Beethoven’s mark is dotted minimum = 108).

    Fifth movement: the metronome mark, dotted crotchet = 60, is Beethoven’s.

    See also Berlioz’s critical essay on this symphony.

Seventh Symphony in A major op. 92 (complete)

    First movement: Berlioz cites bars 300-310 of this movement in his Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapter on the oboe. There are possible echoes of this movement in Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet, notably the repeated Es in bars 57-62 of the slow introduction (compare the ostinato E in the Funeral Procession of Juliet – 5th movement – at first in the chorus (Jetez des fleurs), then in the violins and violas), and the chromatic ostinato in the bass at the end of the movement (bars 401-422 – compare the chromatic ostinato in the bass in the 2nd movement, Romeo alone – Festivities at the Capulets, bars 290-329). See also the end of the fourth movement mentioned below.

    The metronome marks – Poco sostenuto: crotchet = 69; Vivace: dotted crotchet = 104 – are Beethoven’s.

    Second movement: this celebrated movement was an early success with the Parisian public and was even used initially by Habeneck as a replacement for the second movement of the second symphony to make it more palatable to players and audience alike! Berlioz greatly admired it. He cites part of the movement in his Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapter on the trumpet. There are distinct echoes of the piece in several of Berlioz’s own works: the second movement of Harold in Italy (compare in Berlioz notably the pizzicato in the double-basses, bars 169-247, with bars 102-44, 150-83 and 225-42 of Beethoven’s second movement, as well as the end of both movements), and the Funeral March for the last scene of Hamlet (in addition to the common key of A minor and the similarity of rhythm, compare the opening and closing sigh of the winds and horns in Beethoven with the sighs of the wordless chorus in Berlioz’s march). The repeated note E in the main theme of Beethoven’s movement may also have influenced the ostinato E in the Funeral Procession (5th movement) of Romeo and Julietcf. above on the first movement.

    The metronome mark (crotchet = 76) is that of Beethoven.

    Third movement: Berlioz cites bars 181-208 of this movement in his Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapter on the horn. Berlioz may conceivably have had this scherzo in mind when writing the Queen Mab scherzo in his Romeo and Juliet (same fast tempo, and same key of F major). The tempi for this movement have been set as follows. Presto, dotted minim = 126, Assai meno presto, dotted minim = 72, both slower than Beethoven’s own metronome marks which are respectively dotted minim = 132 and dotted minim = 84.

    Because of bugs in the software it has been necessary (1) to move forward the first repeat bar by one beat (this affects the notation, not the music itself), and (2) to omit all the grace notes which follow the trills in bars 18, 20, 22 and all corresponding passages subsequently.

    Fourth movement: In his essays on this symphony Berlioz noted the similarity between the main theme of the movement and that of the overture to Gluck’s Armide. The chromatic phrase in the basses in bars 373-414 recalls a similar passage towards the end of the 2nd movement of Romeo and Juliet, bars 290-329 (compare also the end of the first movement mentioned above).

    The tempo for this movement (Allegro con brio, minim = 72) follows Beethoven’s metronome mark.

    It has been necessary to write out in full the repeat of the first section of the movement (bars 5 to 122) for it to play correctly. The bars in the repeated section have been renumbered accordingly (restarting the sequence at bar 5) to avoid distorting the total figure.

    See also Berlioz’s critical essay on this symphony.

Piano Concerto no. 5 in E flat major op. 73 (Emperor)

    Berlioz was first introduced to the Emperor concerto by his friend Ferdinand Hiller, who played it to him in October 1829. The impact was immediate: Berlioz described the work as ‘sublime, immense’ (CG nos. 130 and 140, 3 and 29 October 1829), and subsequently in his writings he mentions the work more than any of the other Beethoven concertos. He conducted it several times during his career, including performances at the Conservatoire with Liszt as soloist (25 April 1841), in London (13 June 1855), and at his last concert in St Petersburg (25 January 1868). In his Treatise on Orchestration, in the chapter on the piano, he cites a passage from the second movement to illustrate the use of the solo piano to accompany the orchestra. The passage evidently helped to suggest the use of two pianos in Berlioz’s Fantasy on Shakespeare’s Tempest of 1830, which Berlioz cites in the same passage in the Treatise (another relevant source of inspiration was his liaison at the time with the pianist Camille Moke). The passage in the second movement of Harold in Italy, where the solo viola accompanies the orchestra with arpeggios sul ponticello (bars 169-248), may also have been suggested by Beethoven’s concerto.

    Second movement: the tempo has been fixed at crotchet = 48 (there is no metronome mark in Beethoven’s score). Because of a bug in the software two grace notes in bar 44 have had to be omitted.

The Hector Berlioz Website was created by Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin on 18 July 1997.

The Berlioz and Beethoven page was created on 12 January 2003.

© Michel Austin for all scores and text on this page. All rights of reproduction reserved.

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