The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) has long been considered to be among the best of musical autobiographies. Like his massive compositions, Berlioz was colorful, eloquent, and larger than life. His book is both an account of his important place in the rise of the Romantic movement, and a personal testament. He tells the story of his liaison with Harriet Smithson, and his even more passionate affairs-of-the-mind with Shakespeare, Scott, and Byron. Familiar with all the great figures of the age, Berlioz paints brilliant portraits of Liszt, Wagner, Balzac, Weber, and Rossini, among others. And through Berlioz's intimate and detailed self-revelation, there emerges a profoundly sympathetic and attractive man, driven, finally, by his overwhelming creative urges to a position of lonely eminence.
The Memoirs were translated some years ago by David Cairns, now famous as the composer's finest biographer. For the new Everyman edition, he has completely revised the text and the extensive notes which accompany it to take account of his latest research.
About the Author
David Cairns, author of the highly acclaimed biography Berlioz, has been music critic of the Spectator, The Evening Standard, The New Statesman, and The Sunday Times (London).
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