- Tristia (Berlioz)
"Tristia" Op. 18 is a musical work consisting of three short pieces for
orchestraand chorus by the French composer Hector Berlioz. Apart from its title, it has nothing to do with the collection of Latinpoems by Ovid(the word "tristia" in Latinmeans 'sad things'). The individual works were composed at different times and published together in 1852. Berlioz associated them in his mind with Shakespeare's " Hamlet", one of his favourite plays. They were never performed during the composer's lifetime.
Details of the work
The three movements are:
# "Méditation religieuse" (Religious Meditation) A setting of a poem by
Thomas Moore(translated into French by Louise Belloc) for six-part chorus and small orchestra. It was composed during Berlioz's stay in Romein 1831.
# "La Mort d'Ophélie" (The death of Ophelia) A setting of a ballade by
Ernest Legouvé, based on Gertrude's description of Ophelia's drowning in Act IV of "Hamlet". It was originally composed for solo voice and piano in 1842 but in 1848 Berlioz revised it for female choir and orchestra.
# "Marche funèbre pour la dernière scène d'Hamlet" (Funeral March for the final scene of "Hamlet") Probably composed in 1844 for a stage performance of "Hamlet" which never took place. This is the most famous of the three pieces. It uses wordless chorus and orchestra and culminates in a volley of musketry (on scene).
*David Cairns: "Berlioz: Servitude and Greatness" (the second volume of his biography of the composer) (Viking, 1999)
*Hugh Macdonald: "Berlioz" ("The Master Musicians", J.M.Dent, 1982)
*Berlioz: "Memoirs" (Dover, 1960)
* [http://www.hberlioz.com/Scores/shamlet.htm Information on the Funeral March]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.