Brussels Philharmonic | literature for Mélisande

literature for Mélisande

a reading list compiled by Muntpunt
Tragic love... It's a story that has touched hearts for centuries, including the heart of Arnold Schönberg, who brings Maeterlinck's symbolist masterpiece Pelléas et Mélisande to life in a captivating symphonic poem:

"It is closely inspired by Maurice Maeterlinck's magnificent drama. I have attempted to capture every detail. And perhaps, as often happens in music, I have given a bit more space to the love scenes."

Muntpunt delved into the archives, searching for classics about tragic love, Maeterlinck, and symbolism. Discover their selection below.


live in the concert hall

Experience Pelléas et Mélisande live in the concert hall on March 23 at Flagey.

[info & tickets]
[discover also: Close Encounters]
[discover also: Symfomania! XL workshop]

Collected Poems
Maurice Maeterlinck

Maurice Maeterlinck started his journey as a poet, achieving immediate success. His collected poems showcase his mastery as a poet in the realm of symbolism.

William Shakespeare

Often referred to as the 'tragedy of jealousy,' Othello features forbidden love and a descent into death, making it one of Shakespeare's most compelling dramas.

Romeo and Juliet
Peter Schoenaerts

Romeo and Juliet epitomizes the concept of forbidden love. However, this version offers a twist: it eschews Shakespeare's archaic language in favor of modern, accessible Dutch. Moreover, the book invites readers to immerse themselves fully in the story, with exercises, suggestions, and educational tips.

The Story of layla and Majnum

In this book unfolds a seventh-century story of forbidden love: Qais and Layla are madly in love but are not allowed to marry. Wandering through the desert, Qais is overcome with grief and loses himself. From that point on, he is called Majnun, which means 'mad' in Persian.

All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion
Lisa Appignanesi

Love... It enriches the heart, touches the soul, but it is also uncontrollable and maddening. All About Love explores how love has evolved over time, from antiquity to the present, in literature, visual arts, and mythology.

Symbolism in Belgium
Michel Draguet

Symbolism is the last major movement of the 19th century, representing a quest for a new language. Draguet explores this quest and the intriguing relationships between painting and literature.