Liszt had discovered Goethe's Faust in a French translation just before the premiere of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, and it was Berlioz who drew his attention to it. Though he initially contemplated writing an opera on this topic, he ultimately decided on a symphonic work which he called "A Faust Symphony in Three Character Pictures" which evoke Faust, Marguerite and Mephistopheles. His goal was to create psychological portraits that capture the character from within and, through recurring motifs and melodies, show that the three figures are interconnected. The work was premiered in Weimar on 5 September 1857 under the direction of the composer. In this performance, Leonard Bernstein conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra and tenor Kenneth Riegel at Boston's Symphony Hall.


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Associated Collections

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Bernstein 100

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Concert halls of the world