Three composers under the spell of great stories. When Berlioz encountered a set of poems telling of love passionate, unrequited and lost, his reaction was predictably intense. He immediately set the songs to music, capturing the colour, sensuousness and grace of Les Nuits d'été and ‘sewing the seeds for the entire musical lyricism of the nineteenth century in the French language,' according to one historian. Maurice Maeterlinck's 1892 play Pelléas et Mélisande inspired many musicians. But none were driven to such extremes as Arnold Schoenberg, whose monumental symphonic poem on the story more-or-less finished off Romanticism. The sense of this yearning music pushing expression to its breaking point - of aching melodies surrounded by a thick forest of texture - is made thrillingly apparent in a live performance. Schoenberg's great hero of Romanticism was Richard Wagner, whose Prelude to Lohengrin depicts light emerging from darkness with unparalleled musical beauty.
Last Updated: 10/02/2023
Source: Visit Bergen