Hector Berlioz (11 December 1803 -- 8 March 1869) was a French composer, conductor and [[CausticCritic music critic]] of the Romantic Era. [[LoveItOrHateIt An extremely controversial figure]] due to the direction in which he took his compositions, [[NeverAcceptedInHisHometown Berlioz had difficulty having his works performed in France]], the story of which is told colourfully (though with exaggerations) in his ''Memoirs''. He fared somewhat better abroad as his tours in Germany, Russia and England were relatively successful. [[Music/RobertSchumann Schumann]] was enthusiastic about his music, and [[Music/FranzLiszt Liszt]] was one of his champions.

A Shakespeare {{fanboy}}, Berlioz wrote several operas based on the Bard's works such as ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' and ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'' (under the title ''Beatrice and Benedict''). His best known work is ''Music/SymphonieFantastique'', an early example of programme music, and one of the first examples of a [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs psychedelic symphony.]] (In fact, the programme to that work mentions a "sensitive artist" who "poisons himself with opium in a fit of despair.")

!!Berlioz's music provides examples of:
* DarkerAndEdgier: His ''Damnation of Faust'', opposed to {{Goethe}}'s, gives no hope for Faust's salvation. Faust is taken to Hell by Mephistopheles, rather than redeemed by Gretchen.
* {{Disneyfication}}: Berlioz's ''Damnation of Faust'' lacks the obscure philosophy of Goethe's version. Instead, it focuses on the love story between Faust and Gretchen. Nevertheless, it is DarkerAndEdgier.
* DoorStopper: Both volumes of his monstrous biography by David Cairns. Reading both volumes may take almost a year or more.
* LighterAndSofter: ''Beatrice and Benedict'', based on Shakespeare's ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'', lacks the villains and near catastrophe of the play. It instead focuses on the psychologies and repartee of the two protagonists.
* LoveAndDeath: The core themes of his works.