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Candidates for the Prix de Rome competition, which took place every year in summer, had to undergo a preliminary examination, which consisted of writing a fugue in strict style on a given subject. Berlioz entered the competition every year from 1826 until he finally won the prize in 1830 with his cantata Sardanapale (H 50), now lost except for one extended fragment. Berlioz subsequently adapted music from the cantata for use in some of his later works (see the table on the page Berlioz and his Music — Self-borrowings). Of the five fugues that Berlioz wrote only those of 1826 and 1829 have survived; the 1829 fugue is included here. In 1826 Berlioz failed at his first attempt — his fugue was not accepted, and he was thus not admitted to the next stage of the competition, the writing of a cantata on a set poem (Memoirs chapter 10). In all subsequent years he passed the initial test.
Though nominally written for voices the 1829 fugue is reproduced here with organ sounds in the interest of greater musicality.
(1829) (duration 3'58")
— Score in large format
(file created on 14.3.2002)
— Score in pdf format
© Michel Austin for all scores and text on this page
This page revised on 1 October 2021.
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