Watch & Listen


Sex, drugs and classical music: Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique has it all! Discover how the beautiful Irish actress Harriet Smithson nearly drove Hector Berlioz mad—and inspired one of the most imaginative symphonies ever written.

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Creative Credits
Music Credits
Sound Effects Credits
Sources/Recommended Reading

Creative Credits

Carlos Botero, Host

St. John Flynn, Host (Houston Public Media)

Mark DiClaudio, Audio Production and Editing (Houston Public Media)

Todd Hulslander, Technical Supervision (Houston Public Media)

Brad Sayles, Houston Symphony Broadcast Recording Engineer (Houston Public Media)

Calvin Dotsey, Executive Producer

Music Credits

Most orchestral excepts featured in On the Music are taken from archival Houston Symphony recordings. We also supplement these with commercially available recordings to ensure that we respect the rights of our musicians and to fill in gaps in our archives. Credits are listed by order of first appearance. The Houston Symphony Broadcast Recording Engineer is Brad Sayles of Houston Public Media.

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique – Tonkunstler Orchestra. Conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada.

Berlioz: “Love scene” from Roméo et Juliette – Saarbrucken Radio Symphony. Conducted by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.

Auber: Overture to La Muette de Portici –Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by Richard Hayman.

Gluck: “Che faro senza Euridice” from Orfeo ed Euridice – Ann-Christine Biel (soprano), Drottningholm Court Theatre Orchestra and Drottningholm Theatre Chorus. Conducted by Arnold Ostman.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 – Archival Houston Symphony Recording. Conducted by Hans Graf.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 – Archival Houston Symphony Recording. Conducted by Christoph Escenbach.

Weber: Invitation to the Dance – Balazs Szokolay (piano).

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique – Archival Houston Symphony recording. Conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada.

Traditional: Dies irae – Aurora Surgit (choir). Conducted by Alessio Randon.

Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C minor BWV 537 – Robert Noehren (organ).

Strauss: Don Juan – Archival Houston Symphony Recording. Conducted by Hans Graf.

Mendelssohn: “Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Archival Houston Symphony Recording. Conducted by Hans Graf.

Sound Effects Credits

Sound effects courtesy of and Houston Public Media. Credits are listed by order of first appearance.

Theater Crowd – Hum of voices in a theater during the intermission of a concert. (around 500 persons) by felix.blume.

Footsteps – Footsteps on wooden flooring.wav by Rickmk2.

Hamlet – Courtesy of Houston Public Media’s St.John Flynn.

Ophelia – Courtesy of Houston Public Media’s Edel Howlin.

Quill Pen – Quill pen writing on hard paper various speed.wav by marcoman89.

Horse Hooves – Innenstadt_4b_Pferde.wav by OSH37.

Whispering – Some people praying into the “Abbaye de La Cambre” in Brussels, Belgium. by felix.blume.

Cowbells – 20080511_jura_montagne_de_romont_cowbells.wav by hoersturz.

Cows – TwoCows.wav by acclivity.

Angry Mob – angry mob loop.aiff by benjaminharveydesign.

Record Scratch – Courtesy of Houston Public Media.

Sources/Recommended Reading

Berlioz, Hector, and David Cairns. Memoirs of Hector Berlioz from 1803 to 1865, Comprising His Travels in Germany, Italy, Russia and England. New York: Dover Publications, 1966. Print.

Brittan, Francesca. “Berlioz and the Pathological Fantastic: Melancholy, Monomania, and Romantic Autobiography”. 19th-Century Music 29.3 (2006): 211–239. Web.

Cairns, David. Berlioz. Berkeley, CA: U of California, 2000. Print.

Kelly, Thomas Forrest. First Nights: Five Musical Premieres. New Haven: Yale UP, 2001. Print.

Ritchey, Marianna. “Echoes of the Guillotine: Berlioz and the French Fantastic”. 19th-Century Music 34.2 (2010): 168–185. Web.


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