Hector Berlioz: Le spectre de la rose
“Le spectre de la rose” from Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été (Summer Nights) is both delicate and grand, one of those songs that really sticks with you. The ghost of a rose, plucked and worn by a woman at a ball, appears at her bedside. The rose fills her room with its intoxicating scent, whispering words of love and reassurance. He tells her not to be afraid, and like a prince from a fairytale, he happily accepts his death for just one evening by her side: “My destiny was worthy of envy, and for such a beautiful fate, many would have given their lives.” Somehow, Berlioz manages to convey this passion without schmaltz, but with a dreaminess that could soften the most guarded of stoics.