Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Herminie (1828) is a secular cantata which Hector Berlioz composed for the Prix de Rome competition on a libretto by Pierre-Ange Vieillard de Boismartin. This document begins by placing the composition of Herminie within the biographical context of Berlioz’s life and musical output. It outlines the early education of Berlioz and discusses significant individuals and events which influenced his compositional style, as well as the rules, prizes, and expectations of the Prix de Rome competition. A discussion of the cantata libretto follows, including a comparison with the source of the text, the poem Gerusalemme liberata. Included in this discussion is a brief summary of the life of Torquato Tasso, author of Gerusalemme liberata, and other works inspired by this epic poem. This document also summarizes the musical form of the cantata, and examines how Berlioz highlighted the meaning of the text with his music. In addition, the document explores the musical themes from Herminie which Berlioz used in the Symphonie fantastique and the “Chant Sacré” of his Neuf Mélodies irlandaises, both composed in 1830. This document concludes with helpful information for the prospective performer; this includes an analysis of several available recordings of the work, a comparison of the two published editions, and a discussion of various vocal and artistic challenges.



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Committee Chair

O'Neill, Patricia

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Music Commons