Hector Berlioz is an interesting character in music history, the first real Romantic in the “it seems shockingly apparent that this guy, aside from his genius as a writer of music, is dangerously fucking unstable” way that would dominate the rest of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He’s the first great example of a musician who found new avenues of expression in the realm of drugs and alcohol, showing the way for a group that includes the likes of Mussorgsky, Dr. Dre, Amy Winehouse, and that one guy who overdosed after making that one good album. Berlioz redefined the orchestra and wrote a book about it, shaping the way in which all future composers used the orchestral palette (by way of example, listen to the trombone parts in Beethoven 9 and then listen to the trombone parts in Symphonie Fantastique, works written 6 years apart). Continue reading
If the last 30 seconds of the symphony doesn’t make you leap into a karate stance and put your foot through a window, you need some kind of transplant. Four important things to dig:
- Seiji’s hair looks like a sheepdog fucked one of those plasma balls that you see at science museums.
- Of the two bass drummers in the coda, the one who looks most furious is the cute woman; she was clearly wronged her in some way, because she’s going at that thing like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. That drum head is having all the fun. HEY-O!
- Epic amounts of horsehair splayed everywhere on the bow in frame on the last chord. There’s nothing to indicate that it’s true, but something about that gives you the impression that they were playing with reckless abandon.
- The relationship between the tempo and the clarity of the repeated descending low brass line is not entirely human. Then again, these people have vending machines with used panties and live lobsters in them.
The rest of the performance, which you can find in the related videos one way or another, is every bit as good. A perfect demonstration of orchestra as godless killing machine from the future.