Contents of this page:
This page is also available in French
Copyright notice: The texts, photos, images and musical scores on all pages of this site are covered by UK Law and International Law. All rights of publication or reproduction of this material in any form, including Web page use, are reserved. Their use without our explicit permission is illegal.
This page is intended to make available music scores by Berlioz which may be viewed and played back on line. Since voices with words cannot be reproduced by electronic means the collection is limited to Berlioz’s orchestral and instrumental works, in so far as they do not include voices (solo or chorus) – though a few exceptions have been made, which are mentioned below. The collection comprises all known orchestral and instrumental works by Berlioz, with the exception of his 1845 orchestration of Leopold de Meyer’s Marche marocaine (a summary history of this page is provided elsewhere on this site). The collection includes the whole of the Symphonie Fantastique, Harold en Italie, and the Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale, all the orchestral movements from Roméo et Juliette, all the 8 overtures, a number of orchestral excerpts from choral works and operas, and various free-standing orchestral and instrumental pieces, some of them rarities – in all more than 2000 pages in full score, and over 7 hours of playing time. All rights of reproduction and arrangement of all scores and the text on this and related pages are reserved.
All the scores were initially created with the music notation programme Sibelius, version I.4; subsequently some have been or will be revised using Sibelius version 3.1. To view and play back the scores you will need a special plug-in called Scorch, which is available as a free download from Sibelius; it is advisable to use always the most recently available version, which is updated fairly frequently. For the plug-in and for all relevant information consult the Sibelius site. All scores may be viewed online in two different formats, one smaller and the other larger.
The scores will play back using standard Midi sounds, which are computer-generated, and not actual recordings of real instruments and players. The limitations of Midi are well-known (see further Technical Notes), and the versions given here are no more than rudimentary approximations of the original works; they are not meant as a substitute for them. But the Midi format does at least provide a universal standard for reproducing musical sounds, and avoids altogether the problem of artists’ fees and royalties! Bear in mind also that the sound quality you are able to obtain depends in the first instance on the sound card or sound module attached to your computer.
In this and the related pages the letter H followed by a number refers to entries in D. Kern Holoman, Catalogue of the Works of Hector Berlioz (Bärenreiter 1987, volume 25 of the New Berlioz Edition), which includes a comprehensive collection of the evidence concerning the composition and publication of Berlioz’s works and their performance in his lifetime (the information from this catalogue is available online, but only in summary form, at: The Complete Berlioz). See also our page Berlioz: A Listing of his Musical Works, which provides a comprehensive listing of all Berlioz’s musical works, including works lost, unfinished or merely projected.
In addition to the main page ‘Berlioz Music Scores’ several companion pages have been added:
Texts and Documents comprises translated extracts from Berlioz’s writings concerning his music, with particular reference to the works included here, and draws on a variety of sources – his Memoirs, his correspondence, and other writings.
Extracts from the Treatise on Instrumentation and Orchestration contains extended selections from Berlioz’s treatise, first published in 1844 and reissued in an augmented edition in 1855. The Treatise provides indirectly a commentary on Berlioz’s own orchestral writing, as well as an insight into instrumental practice in Berlioz’s day.
Le Chef d’orchestre – théorie de son art gives the full text in the original French of the chapter on conducting that Berlioz added to the augmented edition of the Treatise on Instrumentation in 1855.
Berlioz: A Listing of his Musical Works
Berlioz and his music: self-borrowings provides a detailed conspectus of passages which Berlioz borrowed or adapted from music he had written earlier.
Berlioz Libretti provides the texts and libretti of Berlioz’s vocal music, including his operas, masses, songs and other works accompanied with voices.
Predecessors and Contemporaries comprises orchestral scores of composers whom Berlioz acknowledged as influences on his music – in particular Gluck, Beethoven, Spontini and Weber, but others as well. The starting point for this collection, which will be steadily enlarged, are the orchestral scores cited by Berlioz in his Treatise on Instrumentation. This page also contains a discussion of Berlioz’s relations with each composer.
Berlioz in Paris gives illustrations of many of the venues in Paris associated with performances of Berlioz’s music.
Berlioz in Europe traces the travels of Berlioz in Europe, in the course of which he introduced many of his works to foreign audiences.
Scores not included in the New Berlioz Edition, by Pierre-René Serna
For the playback of these scores the Midi format has been adopted because of its universality, though several obvious limitations should be mentioned. These concern partly the format itself, partly its implementation in Sibelius.
(1) It is of course not possible to reproduce voices with words. It has therefore been decided to exclude from this collection all the vocal and choral music of Berlioz, with a few exceptions: the last movement of the Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale, which is mostly instrumental, the Funeral March for the last scene of Hamlet, where the chorus is wordless, the nocturnal march from l’Enfance du Christ, and Act II Scene I and the 3rd ballet of Act IV of Les Troyens.
(2) Not all the orchestral instruments used by Berlioz have their Midi equivalents; substitutes have to be used in some cases, while in others the intended effect cannot be reproduced at all. Thus there is no specific Midi equivalent for the cornet or the saxhorn (substitute trumpet), or for the ophicleide (substitute tuba). Orchestral strings are restricted to a generic string ensemble sound and to a pizzicato sound: there are no separate sounds for orchestral violins, violas, cellos and double-basses. Nor are there Midi sounds for (among other string effects) con sordino, harmonics (similarly for the harp), sul ponticello, or col legno.
(3) Dynamics can only be implemented in an approximate way. In particular, it is difficult to reproduce crescendos or decrescendos on single notes (which Berlioz uses very frequently).
(4) Grace notes cannot be reproduced in a musically satisfying manner.
(5) It is not always possible to give pauses their appropriate duration.
(6) On the other hand Midi gives the possibility of reproducing exactly metronome marks (as well as introducing fluctuations of tempo where appropriate). Berlioz attached importance to the value of metronome marks and included many in the published scores of most of his works. Many of Berlioz’s metronome marks are straightforward and indeed often illuminating. Some, however, are problematic and are not always followed in modern performances. Reference may be made to a detailed study by Hugh Macdonald, ‘Berlioz and the metronome’, in Berlioz Studies, ed. Peter Bloom (Cambridge University Press, 1992), 17-36, who draws attention to a number of problem cases. All metronome marks shown in the scores available on this page are, unless otherwise stated, those of Berlioz himself and the music will play back at the speeds indicated (editorial metronome marks remain invisible). Where Berlioz’s metronome marks seem in any way problematic this is specifically mentioned in each individual case. In the rare instances where Berlioz’s tempo has not been followed this has been done with some hesitation. All the contemporary evidence suggests that Berlioz was an extraordinary conductor, particularly of his own music, and under his direction musicians were fired to a level of performance they did not know they were capable of. It may be therefore that those metronome marks which seem difficult to sustain in modern performances (such as the allegro of the overture Les Francs Juges and that to King Lear) would have been made to sound convincing under his baton.
(7) The Sibelius notation programme cannot always give their correct value on playback to tuplets unless they are notated in full; this has been done in a number of passages, notably the overture to King Lear, the 4th movement of Harold in Italy, the overture to Benvenuto Cellini, the first, second and sixth excerpts from Romeo and Juliet, the Hungarian March from the Damnation of Faust, and the Royal Hunt and Storm from Les Troyens. Details for each piece are given in the relevant sections.
Available Scores (in chronological order of composition):
Overture: Les Francs Juges
Fugue for the Prix de Rome competition (1829)
Symphonie Fantastique (complete) (I: Rêveries. Passions II: Un Bal (in two versions, without and with solo cornet) III: Scène aux champs IV: Marche au supplice V: Songe d’une Nuit du Sabbat)
Overture: King Lear
Overture: Rob Roy
The Aeolian Harp, from Lélio ou le retour à la vie
Harold in Italy (complete) (I: Harold aux montagnes; II: Marche des pélerins; III: Sérénade; IV: Orgie de brigands)
Overture: Benvenuto Cellini
Romeo and Juliet: Orchestral excerpts (I: Introduction; II: Romeo alone – Festivities at the Capulets; III: Love scene; IV: Queen Mab Scherzo; VI: Romeo at the tomb of the Capulets)
Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale (complete) (I: Marche Funèbre; II: Oraison Funèbre; III: Apothéose, 1st and 2nd version)
Rêverie et caprice, Romance for violin and orchestra
Weber: Invitation to the Dance (op. 65) (version orchestrated by Berlioz; original version for piano)
Overture: Roman Carnival
3 Pieces for Alexandre’s melodium organ
Overture: Le Corsaire
Marche d’Isly (Léopold de Meyer; orchestration by Berlioz [?] and original version for piano)
La Damnation de Faust: 3 orchestral pieces (Hungarian March, Ballet des Sylphes, Menuet des Follets)
Te Deum: Prelude (originally the 3rd movement) and March for the Presentation of the Colours (8th movement)
Chant des Chérubins and Pater Noster (Bortniansky; arrangement by Berlioz [?])
L’Enfance du Christ: instrumental excerpts (Nocturnal March, Dance of the Sooth-Sayers [from Part I]; Overture to La Fuite en Egypte and orchestral introduction to Le Repos de la Sainte Famille [from Part II]; Trio for 2 flutes and harp [from Part III])
Funeral March for the last scene of Hamlet, from Tristia, no.3
Valse chantée par le vent dans les cheminées d’un de mes châteaux en Espagne
Les Troyens: Orchestral excerpts (Combat de Ceste, from Act I; Act II Scene 1; Lamento for Les Troyens à Carthage; 3 entrances from Act III; Trojan march in the minor key from Act III; Royal Hunt and Storm; 3 ballets from Act IV)
Béatrice et Bénédict: Overture and Sicilienne
A summary history of these pages is available on this site.
The Hector Berlioz Website was created by Michel Austin
and Monir Tayeb on 18
Berlioz Music Scores pages created on 1 January 2000 (English version) and on 2 January 2000 (French version).
© Michel Austin for all scores and text on these pages; all rights of reproduction reserved.
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