Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) was one of the most original and colourful composers of his generation, whose music in many ways was ahead of its time. He was also a highly respected journalist and critic, producing monthly articles for the Journal des Débats for over thirty years, as well as other writings including his posthumously published autobiographical Mémoires. Unlike journalism, which he disliked, letter-writing was a task which he relished and at which he excelled, producing sometimes four or five in a day and more than 3,500 during his lifetime. The letters reflect the man - exuberant, imaginative, idealistic, opinionated and witty - and give us a fascinating, first-hand, insight into his life. This two-volume selection includes some 300 examples. Volume 2, with a preface by the composer Charles Gounod, is devoted to Berlioz's letters to his lifelong friend, the lawyer and writer Humbert Ferrand.