Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Ramalingam, Vivian S. “Berlioz, Beethoven, and ‘One fatal remembrance.’” In Beyond the Moon: Festchrift Luther Dittmer, ed. Bryan Gillingham and Paul Merkley, 394-409. Musicological Studies, Vol. 53. Ottawa: Institute of Medieval Music, 1990.

The Lacrymosa movement of Hector Berlioz’s Grand Messe des morts contains numerous connections to the Allegretto movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. On the surface level, both movements feature contrasts of high and low registers, and Berlioz also quotes a descending line from mm. 144-48 of Beethoven’s Allegretto, which, in both pieces, abruptly pivots the music from C Major into A Minor. On a deeper level, however, the Lacrymosa “poeticizes” and exaggerates the elements of Beethoven’s Allegretto that Berlioz heard most clearly in his predecessor’s work: intense alternation between rhythmically driving and lyrical passages, the pervasive somber affect, parallels with the biblical Jeremiah and Gluck’s Alceste, and an incessant rhythmic motive pulsing throughout. Berlioz’s Lacrymosa thus constitutes the composer’s own vivid reading and re-interpretation of Beethoven’s Allegretto.

Works: Berlioz: Grand Messe des morts (394-407).

Sources: Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 (395-402, 404-7); Gluck: Alceste (403-5).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew G. Leone

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