~ The Books ~



translated by David Cairns

Book Cover


The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz has long been considered to be among the best of musical autobiographies.

Like his massive compositions, Berlioz was colourful, eloquent, larger than life. His book is both an account of his important place in the rise of the Romantic movement and a personal testament.


He tells the story of his liaison with Harriet Smithson, and his even more passionate affairs of the mind with Shakespeare, Scott, and Byron.

Familiar with all the great figures of the age, Berlioz paints brilliant portraits of Liszt, Wagner, Balzac, Weber, and Rossini, among others.

And through Berlioz's intimate and detailed self-revelation, there emerges a profoundly sympathetic and attractive man, driven, finally, by his overwhelming creative urges to a position of lonely eminence.

For this new Everyman's edition of The Memoirs, the translator - the composer's most admired biographer - has completely revised the text and the extensive notes to take into account the latest research.

~ Weber ~


His two-volume biography of Hector Berlioz:

Berlioz: The Making of an Artist 1803-1832 won the Royal Philharmonic Society's Music Award, the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year and the British Academy's Derek Allen Prize.

Berlioz: Servitude and Greatness 1832-1869 won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction, the Whitbread Biography of the Year and the Royal Philharmonic Society's Music Award.

David Cairns

David Cairns has been music critic of
The Spectator,
The Evening Standard,
The New Statesman, and
The Sunday Times (London).

Recording projects he worked on as classical programme co-ordinator for Philips Records during 1967-72 included operas by Mozart (Idomeneo, Le Nozze di Figaro); Berlioz (Benvenuto Cellini, The Trojans); and Tippett (The Midsummer Marriage).

He was co-founder of the Chelsea Opera Group and is now conductor of the Thorington Players.

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Richard Wagner
~ Richard Wagner ~

~ 22nd December 2010 ~