One of the best-known and well-loved composers of the Romantic period, Chopin was born in Poland and lived most of his life in Paris, which was at that time the musical hub of Europe. Chopin's entire musical output was devoted to his favorite instrument, the piano. His over 200 solo compositions for the piano all demonstrate his highly individual melodic style, and includes two sets of etudes (studies), three sonatas, four ballads, many pieces he variously titled preludes, impromptus, or scherzos, and a great number of dances. There are a number of waltzes, but also many Polonaises, Mazurkas, and Krakowiaks, all of which are dances from where Chopin was born, Poland. Some of these dance pieces are among Chopin's well-known works, including the proud Polonaise in A-flat major and the haunting Waltz in C-sharp minor.
Among Chopin's most individual works are the Préludes which were intended to serve as improvisatory beginnings to an intimate recital. These pieces range from tender melancholy to the dramatic utterances. Many of Chopin's most beautiful compositions come from the series of short, reflective pieces he called Nocturnes. As can be heard in the Nocturne in F-sharp, these works are usually gentle and dreamlike with a flowing, rocking bass, and aptly demonstrate Chopin's preference for sweet, song-like melodies, very much in the style of the Italian bel canto of the period.
Symphonie Fantastique, op. 14
(Overview & 5th Movement)
When Hector Berlioz was a little over 25 years old, he fell in love with Shakespearean actress known as Harriet Smithson. The concept of Symphonie Fantastique was about how a young and sensitive artist (Berlioz himself), is under the influence of opium and experiences a series of visions – which are show in the different movements of the symphony – where his beloved figures as a theme, the idée fixe, which recurs in every movement, though each time in a different form. Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14 (Fantastic Symphony: Episode in the Life of an Artist), has an expanded symphony orchestra playing this song. An " idée fixe " is the French word for a fixed idea, where a recurring theme (the theme that keeps getting repeated) is transformed to fit different moods and scenes. The idée fixe is basically used to unify all 5 movements and appears in varied harmony, rhythm, meter, tempo, dynamics, register, and instrumental colour.
The first movement – Reveries, Passions – is in time of C+, and is in a sonata-allegro form. It is when Berlioz sees and remembers passion, depression, love, and emotions before and after seeing his beloved. It introduces the fixed idea as a soaring melody. The second movement – A Ball – is in time of A+, and is in ternary form (ABA), where Berlioz meets Smithson at a ball. The middle section represents the fixed idea in waltz time. The third movement – Scene in the Fields – is in time of F+ and is in ternary form (ABA). In a summer evening in the country he hears 2 pipers in a pastoral duet. The