'Quite simply, one of the great musical biographies of all time, a work that will enrich our understanding of every one of Berlioz's compositions.' Sunday Telegraph
Berlioz was one of the towering figures of Romanticism: not only was he a great and revolutionary composer, but also the finest conductor of his day and an outstanding critic and writer. Yet throughout his life he struggled for money and his music was persistently reviled in his native France. With exceptional insight and sympathy, David Cairns draws together in this second volume the major strands of Berlioz's life: his tempestuous marriage to the actress Harriet Smithson; the genesis of his famous works, including the Requiem, Romeo and Juliet and his crowning masterpiece The Trojans; his friendships with Mendelssohn, Liszt, Princess Wittgenstein and Wagner; and, finally, his last years haunted once again by personal tragedy. Here, as never before, is Berlioz the artist - and the man.
'Beautifully written, every word of the 700 pages worth its weight in gold. The author has a remarkable eye for fascinating detail, an infectious enthusiasm for Berlioz's music, and a fluency and keen sense of purpose in narrating what amounts to the most extraordinary real-life story classical music has to offer...This epic biography will stand as a major monument of the history of classical music and will surely, on its subject, never be surpassed.' Alexander Waugh, Literary Review
'One of the masterpieces of modern biography.' Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph