Berlioz described L'enfance as a Trilogie sacrée (sacred trilogy). The first of its three sections depicts King Herod ordering the massacre of all newborn children in Judaea; the second shows the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus setting out for Egypt to avoid the slaughter, having been warned by angels; and the final section portrays their arrival in the Egyptian town of Saiswhere they are given refuge by a family of Ishmaelites. Berlioz was not religious as an adult but remained all his life susceptible to the beauty of the religious music that had enraptured him as a child. L'enfance also shows some influence from the Biblical oratorios of Berlioz's teacher Jean-François Lesueur.
More pieces by Berlioz
- L'enfance du Christ: Selection
- Le carnaval romain