P.S. As the descriptions of the presented symphony's individual movements tend to be rather long, all the information concerning the genesis of the work as a whole can be found in the notes of the first posting.
P.P.S. A complete score of the presented movement with a midi soundtrack can be found here:
Music: II. Perhaps among all of the symphony's movements, "Un bal" is the most accessible and certainly the most charming. Dramatically, the section shows the artist at a glittering ball, forgetting somewhat his state of mind in the brilliance of a waltz; however, soon the object of his affection appears, leading him once again to the feelings already described in the allegro of the first movement. The section revolves around two main musical ideas: the delightful waltz of the party and the idee fixe which effectively disrupts it. The piece opens in an atmosphere of excited anticipation, as the strings state both a rising wave motive (heard in the cellos and bass) (the crowd of dancers awaiting the beginning of the dance (?)) and a tremulous figure in the violins, suggesting the mutter of delight at the coming entertainment. Both harps make a pointed appearance in graceful upward runs. The accompaniment progressively becomes more agitated, as the violins and higher winds, finally making a late entrance, force a transition to major (0:39), followed by a glowing double cadenza for the harps, joined for its second half by the flute/oboe/clarinet. The first violins then begin to play the waltz proper, a genuinely sunny melody (0:44), gently accented with the richly ornamented line of the harps (1:04) and the charming staccato runs of the flute/clarinet (1:17). A brief tempo di mezzo finds the violins and cellos engaging in a "breathless" line over the trumpet-like statements of the flute/clarinet/horn (1:29) before a romantic sigh returns us to the waltz, once again played by the strings, while the rest of the orchestra plays separate notes in a manner of the feet of the dancers clicking on a marble floor (1:45). A dramatic rise in the orchestra and a trumpet call from the cornet, however, disrupts the dance (1:58), as though a person of great importance has just arrived. The orchestra retreats into a string tremolo, while the flute/oboe state the idee fixe (2:13). The artist's beloved passes among the dancers, some of whom exchange words of wonderment (evident in the bubbling of the cellos and bass). The appearance of the clarinet, replacing the oboe and continuing the theme, signals a return to the dance (2:22), as the object of the artist's affections joins the waltz, gracefully twirling among the dancers, beautifully captured by the melodramatic rises and falls of the violins and violas. A brief cadenza leads to a collective sigh of admiration from the strings (2:54), as if the girl has just disappeared in the crowd. A tentative tutti for the whole orchestra, as if the dancers are searching for the tempo, overflows into another statement of the waltz theme, this time played by the second violins/violas/cellos, while the first violins engage in a charming ornamental figure and the winds continue a triplet figuration (3:12). The harps' exquisite lines (3:20) and a boastful appearance for the cornet (3:30) are added to round out the number. The melody remains virtually the same with Berlioz only enriching the accompaniment, nowhere more apparent than in the more advanced wind cadenza (4:05) with the cornet/piccolo. The waltz theme is once again repeated complete, now with the whole orchestra joining in to support the winds' (flute/piccolo/oboe/clarinet) varied statement of the dance (4:10), delightfully contrasted with the sudden sustained tutti notes. A coda of the utmost brilliance begins (4:36), intertwining all the motives into one glorious tapestry of sound. Even if Berlioz were to stop here, we would already have a number of infinite enchantment to enjoy. However, instead of allowing the coda to naturally resolve, the composer once again returns us to the idee fixe, played by the clarinet over the sustained tones of the horns and the short figures from the harps (5:14), as the hero's beloved is leaving the party without even a passing glance for her admirer. However, none of the other guests notice this scene, and the fete continues with dizzying force (5:43).
Recording: The classic 1974 Philips recording under Colin Davis, leading the enchanting Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, is, probably, one of the most ardent and warm renditions of Berlioz's masterpiece.
Hope you'll enjoy =).