Hectoring…

https://i1.wp.com/www.opioids.com/opium/hector-berlioz.jpgWell, this will have to be one of the quickest bits of writing I’ve ever done…

In the middle of a large and demanding writing task whose deadline  is only 20 hours away, I go into the kitchen to make a quick bit of dinner — and see, on my kitchen table laptop, a message on ‘social media’ telling me that today is the birthday of that wild and whirling French romantic, the life-enhancingly unique Hector Berlioz (1803-69).

Well, it so happens that I have a particular fondness — unencumbered by any ‘specialist’ insight! — for this magnificently original musical personality … partly on account of the fact that a piece written by him was one of the first bits of ‘classical music’ I ever got to know

The story is simple. As a kid who’d suddenly discovered the classical repertoire and was instantly ‘mad about it’, I was given a radio-cassette recorder at Christmas — and used to take it to bed with me every night. Using battery power, I would hide under the covers with an earphone as I scanned the world’s airwaves on the lookout for anything at all that sounded like orchestral music — and, if I found something that seemed like it might be interesting, I would record it. (And, do you know, I suddenly find that I can still remember the ‘feel’ of the button and the lever that had to pressed in order to start recording…) This process would continue until, eventually, I fell asleep…

Well, late one night I heard — and recorded — this piece of Berlioz…

I’m fairly sure that somewhere or other — in a box of old stuff I haven’t looked in for literally decades — there will be the C90 cassette, from all those years ago, with the old ‘medium wave’ foreign broadcast cracklingly recorded on it…

But if it isn’t still around, it doesn’t really matter. Because I now discover that the very performance I heard, back in the late ’70s (and old even then!), is actually to be found on YouTube. Yes, this performance is the one I taped, under the bedclothes, all those decades and all those broken dreams ago…

It made an impression on me; if there are any readers who don’t know the piece, perhaps something in one, other or both of these two recordings will make an impression on them in turn…

On Berlioz’s birthday…

That’s all!

MD

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