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Berlioz: Song of War

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: war leaves the Emerald Isle…

Composers and poets often use war as a theme even when they have no interest in participating in it themselves.

In his immensely popular Irish Melodies, poet Thomas Moore included this rousing, warlike ballad (although Moore himself had never taken part in armed conflict).

Hector Berlioz’s settings of Moore’s poetry were published early in 1830-what was to be an eventful year in France.

Following the three-day July Revolution, in which the unpopular Bourbon monarchy was replaced by a ruler from the somewhat more liberal Orleans monarchy, Berlioz recalled hearing this song sung in the streets in celebration.

Berlioz himself had not taken part in the event, however, having been sequestered the entirety of the Revolution at the Institute de France, completing his entry piece for the Prix de Rome.

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