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Symphony

Symphony Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1827 Harriet Smithson, a beautiful and talented young Irish actress, makes an unusual decision. Determined to avoid the traditional route to stardom via the managers bed, she joins an English company in the bold experiment of taking Shakespeare to Paris.

With the ferment of revolution in the air, the new generation is longing for a novel kind of passionate, spontaneous art. And to Harriets astonishment, it is embodied in her---La Belle Irlandaise. In the midst of this frenzy she finds herself pursued by a strange, intense young composer named Hector Berlioz. So begins a painful and profound love affair. She is his muse, his idée fixe, his obsession; and Berliozs Symphonie Fantastique, directly inspired by Harriet, will change music forever.

Symphony is an audacious, brilliant, and haunting novel, set against a background of nineteenth-century theatre, Romantic art, music, and revolutionary Europe. But at its heart lies the story of two lives transfigured and destroyed by genius, inspiration, and madness.

Review:

"The real-life marriage of Irish actress Harriet Smithson (1800 — 1854) to composer Hector Berlioz (1803 — 1869) is the ostensible subject of Morgan's latest (following Indiscretion), but the two don't meet until two thirds of the way into this thickly embellished historical romance. After initial reluctance, the young Harriet, her passion for theatre inflamed by Shakespeare, joins her family's traveling theater company. As drink dissipates her father, weight softens her mother and minimal talent limits her brother Joseph, Harriet takes charge of the family business and appears with theatrical stars of the time. But it's her magnificent interpretation of Ophelia in Paris that brings her a public, including Hector, the son of a successful doctor and a pious mother. Young Hector's path to a musical education is told in parallel to Harriet's youth. After her Ophelia, Harriet turns away Hector's ardent pursuit, but as her theater begins to fail and his musical star begins to rise, she attends a performance of his Symphonie Fantastique, inspired by her. Morgan's modernist style, with frequent shifts in tense and POV, won't be for everyone, but it lets Morgan nicely capture the multiple levels of consciousness a performer juggles on stage ('the three minds') and gives the novel real texture." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"True story: In 1827 a young French composer went to see two Shakespeare plays at the Odeon in Paris: 'Hamlet' and 'Romeo and Juliet.' He fell instantly and passionately in love with the Irish actress who played both Ophelia and Juliet. On fire, he composed a masterpiece. He pursued the actress. Their relationship was fraught and tempestuous. They married, but within a few years their union dissolved... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

In 1827 Harriet Smithson, a beautiful and talented young Irish actress, makes an unusual decision. Determined to avoid the traditional route to stardom via the managers bed, she joins an English company in the bold experiment of taking Shakespeare to Paris.

With the ferment of revolution in the air, the new generation is longing for a novel kind of passionate, spontaneous art. And to Harriets astonishment, it is embodied in her---La Belle Irlandaise. In the midst of this frenzy she finds herself pursued by a strange, intense young composer named Hector Berlioz. So begins a painful and profound love affair. She is his muse, his idée fixe, his obsession; and Berliozs Symphonie Fantastique, directly inspired by Harriet, will change music forever.

Symphony is an audacious, brilliant, and haunting novel, set against a background of nineteenth-century theatre, Romantic art, music, and revolutionary Europe. But at its heart lies the story of two lives transfigured and destroyed by genius, inspiration, and madness.

Synopsis:

In 1827, Harriet Smithson, a beautiful and talented Irish actress, joins an English Shakespeare company where she falls in love with a young composer. But his love becomes obsession, and their lives will be transfigured and destroyed by genius, inspiration, and madness.

About the Author

Jude Morgan, who studied writing with Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter, lives in Peterborough, England.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312369514
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Subject:
Historical
Author:
Morgan, Jude
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Actresses
Subject:
Berlioz, Hector
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Edition Description:
Us
Publication Date:
20071210
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
A</P><P>&#8220;Authentic enough to engage even the
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.854 in

Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Symphony
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 384 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9780312369514 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The real-life marriage of Irish actress Harriet Smithson (1800 — 1854) to composer Hector Berlioz (1803 — 1869) is the ostensible subject of Morgan's latest (following Indiscretion), but the two don't meet until two thirds of the way into this thickly embellished historical romance. After initial reluctance, the young Harriet, her passion for theatre inflamed by Shakespeare, joins her family's traveling theater company. As drink dissipates her father, weight softens her mother and minimal talent limits her brother Joseph, Harriet takes charge of the family business and appears with theatrical stars of the time. But it's her magnificent interpretation of Ophelia in Paris that brings her a public, including Hector, the son of a successful doctor and a pious mother. Young Hector's path to a musical education is told in parallel to Harriet's youth. After her Ophelia, Harriet turns away Hector's ardent pursuit, but as her theater begins to fail and his musical star begins to rise, she attends a performance of his Symphonie Fantastique, inspired by her. Morgan's modernist style, with frequent shifts in tense and POV, won't be for everyone, but it lets Morgan nicely capture the multiple levels of consciousness a performer juggles on stage ('the three minds') and gives the novel real texture." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,

In 1827 Harriet Smithson, a beautiful and talented young Irish actress, makes an unusual decision. Determined to avoid the traditional route to stardom via the managers bed, she joins an English company in the bold experiment of taking Shakespeare to Paris.

With the ferment of revolution in the air, the new generation is longing for a novel kind of passionate, spontaneous art. And to Harriets astonishment, it is embodied in her---La Belle Irlandaise. In the midst of this frenzy she finds herself pursued by a strange, intense young composer named Hector Berlioz. So begins a painful and profound love affair. She is his muse, his id&eacute;e fixe, his obsession; and Berliozs Symphonie Fantastique, directly inspired by Harriet, will change music forever.

Symphony is an audacious, brilliant, and haunting novel, set against a background of nineteenth-century theatre, Romantic art, music, and revolutionary Europe. But at its heart lies the story of two lives transfigured and destroyed by genius, inspiration, and madness.

"Synopsis" by , In 1827, Harriet Smithson, a beautiful and talented Irish actress, joins an English Shakespeare company where she falls in love with a young composer. But his love becomes obsession, and their lives will be transfigured and destroyed by genius, inspiration, and madness.
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