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The Symphonie Fantastique (1830) is by far Berlioz’s most popular work. Composed in 1830 under the impact of his sudden passion for Goethe’s Faust drama and for the actress Harriet Smithson, the work bears the subtitle “Episode in the Life of an Artist”. But it proved to be more than an episode in the history of the symphony, thanks to its intensely personal programmatic structure unified by an “idée fixe”; as well as in the history of orchestration, thanks to the new impulses resulting from the imaginative and daring instrumental combinations and techniques.

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