To commemorate Halloween, The Teaching Company is offering one free lecture by Professor Robert Greenberg on Hector Berlioz’s best-known work, Symphonie fantastique.
The inspiration for Symphonie fantastique was Berlioz’s (at first) unrequited love for the Irish Shakespearean actress Harriet Smithson. Dr. Robert Greenberg calls the introduction to the fifth movement “real Halloween music.” Berlioz “wants us to see in our mind’s eye a broken graveyard, a ruined church, a stinking vapor rising from the ground, vermin scurrying around, and in the middle of this churchyard a rude pine coffin.” Seems to me like a good way to encourage any youth in your house suffering their first broken heart that they will get through it, and maybe transmute suffering into beauty.
The lecture is free between now and December 31, 2007. You may download and listen to it at your computer, transfer it to your iPod or MP3 player, or burn it to a CD.