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Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique, A Ball

Here's a hint: It's a perfect example of art imitating life.

Festive parties and balls were common in Hector Berlioz’s day, and the atmosphere of such get-togethers was the inspiration for one of the movements from his famous Symphonie fantastique. The symphony depicts a fantastical story of an artist in love with a young woman and describes their ill-fated love affair. In the second movement, titled “A Ball”, the artist is in the midst of a huge party with waltzes and colorful sights and sounds, but all this means nothing as he continues to think of his beloved.

The Symphonie fantastique is thought of as a perfect example of art imitating life. Berlioz wrote the piece while he was in a relationship with a famous actress, Harriett Smithson, and she is the inspiration of the mysterious beloved featured in this celebrated work.

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