La symphonie de l’au-delà

By Jean-Jacques Nguyen

Life is made of meetings, which are often the result of chance, but do not always involve real people. Howard Phillips Lovecraft used to tell his friends that he had visited Paris in a dream in the company of Poe. In my own dreams I have met Lovecraft, Marcel Proust, … and Hector Berlioz!

Has any devotee of the great Hector ever failed to imagine coming back to life in the XIXth century and meeting his idol? I have had this dream myself – an ordinary music lover of the early XXIst century, who does not play any musical instrument and cannot even read music! With the help of Lovecraft I have recreated my fantasy. The result is a dreamlike story in the manner of the writer from Providence, with Cthulhu coming to the help of Berliozian scholarship. That was required to bring about this "exchange of minds" across time… "La symphonie de l’au-delà" is a youthful piece of writing; clumsy it may be, but I have a soft spot for it because it deals with music – and with Berlioz. The main character is of course myself. At the time I had some rather naïve ideas about the life of a chronicler of classical music, which I imagined to be full of concerts, learned books, fine spirits and leather-covered armchairs…

Jean-Jacques Nguyen

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