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Hector & Felix

Hector & Felix

by Paul Corneilson


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It is hard to imagine two composers more different in talent and temperament than the French, mostly self-taught Hector Berlioz and German, highly cultivated Felix Mendelssohn. The two were an "odd couple": Berlioz grew up in provincial France, the son of a country doctor; he moved to Paris to study medicine but gravitated toward music in his early twenties. His views and music represent the more progressive Romantic ideals of the nineteenth-century. Mendelssohn, on the other hand, was probably the most talented musician after Mozart. He enjoyed a comfortable life and a fine education in Berlin, where he absorbed the classical tradition in music, religion, and philosophy.
As a pathway into their life and music, a new original play, Hector & Felix, tells of the two encounters between the composers, who first met in Rome in 1831 and twelve years later in Leipzig in 1843. Using letters and historical documents of their life, opinions, and music, the play imagines their discussion during two different periods of their career.
Act 1 is set in Rome, where Berlioz (aged 27) was in residence at the French Academy after winning the Prix de Rome and where Mendelssohn (aged 22) happened to be visiting at the end of a Grand Tour through Europe. Act 2 is set in Leipzig, where Mendelssohn had established himself as conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and at a time when Berlioz is traveling through Germany organizing concerts to pay his expenses. Each act is divided into scenes in places or venues (e.g., Villa Medici, Café Greco, Mendelssohn's living room) where the two men converse about music, art, literature, and other topics.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781449982553
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 01/03/2010
Pages: 62
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.15(d)

About the Author

The author grew up in Millheim, Pennsylvania, and attended Gettysburg College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently lives in Medford, Massachusetts, and works for the Packard Humanities Institute.

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