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A master class with Frederica von Stade

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2016-10-14

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Revising Les nuits d'été Op. 7: A New Version for Voice and Piano Following a Comparative Analysis of Berlioz’s Original Piano and Orchestral Versions

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Louis Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) was a pioneer of 19th century Romanticism in France. In the mid-19th century, he broke the traditional mold by connecting poetry and music through French song. This development transformed French song from the simple and structured

Louis Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) was a pioneer of 19th century Romanticism in France. In the mid-19th century, he broke the traditional mold by connecting poetry and music through French song. This development transformed French song from the simple and structured Romance of the 18th century into the structural freedom of what he established as the a Mélodie. His song cycle Les nuits d’été, op 7 was composed first for voice and piano in 1841 and later arranged for voice and orchestra in 1856. After the 1856 orchestral version was completed, Les nuits d’été received greater recognition than it had from its original scoring for voice and piano.

This paper examines three major aspects to Les nuits d’été. First, it will discuss the reasons why Berlioz re-scored the work for orchestra and transposed the vocal part for various voice types in this later orchestral version. Second, it examines the difference between musical interactions in these two versions by comparing the existing scores of each version with its respective accompaniment based on Berlioz's use of word painting. Finally, this paper provides the author's original transcription of Les nuits d’été in a version for voice and piano that incorporates the later orchestral versions which were not included in the original version for voice and piano.

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2017