March to the Scaffold

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The journey to the scaffold of a man who has murdered his lover is the image behind the 4th movement from the Symphonie Fantastique (subtitled An Episode in the Life of an Artist). Berlioz' imagination, widely regarded as near insane during his lifetime, operated on the edge of musical possibility : his scoring for the orchestra, and particularly his use of harmony in non-standard ways was regarded as ignorant and primitive by non other than Mendelssohn. These factors are very clearly heard at work in this movement. Berlioz first made his reputation in England where his use of very large orchestral and choral forces gained an enthusiastic audience. The modern revival of interest in his music recommenced in England during the 1960s.