L’Enfance du Christ is a true masterpiece: extraordinary, mind-blowing even, full of carefully chosen archaisms. Berlioz himself conducted the first performance, held in 1854 in Paris.
With his deliberate choice of archaic language, Berlioz pays tribute to 17th-century French music. The composer had fond memories of the Christmases of his childhood, filled with intimacy and warmth, and reconstructed those memories in his music.
Berlioz created a seemingly simple and soft musical language, playing with the spatial arrangement of the voices. He succeeded in this work in showing both the grandeur of King Herod and the birth of a child who, from a humble manger, would fulfil his destiny.
Hector Berlioz – L'enfance du Christ