Hector Berlioz Hector Berlioz wrote the Symphonie fantastique at the age of 27. He based the program on his own impassioned life and transferred his memoirs into his best- known program symphony. The story is about a love sick, depressed young artist, while in his despair poisons himself with opium. His beloved is represented throughout the symphony by the symbolic idee fixe. There are five movements throughout symphony.
The program begins with the 1st movement: Reveries, Passions symbolizing the artist’s life prior to meeting his beloved. This is represented as a mundaness and indefinable searching or yearning, until suddenly, he meets her and his longing abruptly ceases and is replaced by volcanic love. The soaring melody becomes the Idee fixe and is introduced in this section. The 2nd movement: A Ball. This movement is representative of the gala ball where he once again sees his beloved.
This section is a dance movement in three-part form. The Idee fixe reappears in waltz time. The 3rd movement: Scene in the Fields. This section represents a tranquil interval. It is a summer evening in the country and he hears two shepherds piping.
The tranquil moment of the quiet summer evening alone with the pastoral duet fills his heart with an unfamiliar calm. Suddenly she appears and her appearance causes an emotional response of sorrowful loneliness. The 4th movement: March To the Scaffold. He dreams that he has killed his beloved, he is condemned to die and is being lead to the scaffold. At the end of this movement the Idee fixe reappears for a short instance and the reappearance becomes symbolic of the last thought of love that is interrupted by the axe.
The 5th movement: Dream of a Witch’s Sabbath. He imagines himself at a witch’s Sabbath surround by ghastly spirits who have gathered for his funeral. Philosophy.