A Monument of Romantic Music

Facsimile of Berlioz‘ “Symphonie fantastique”

The “Symphonie fantastique” by Hector Berlioz is one of the great monuments of Romantic music. First performed in 1830, it marked the decisive beginning of Berlioz’s career and it also proclaimed the new expressive potential of orchestral programme music. By linking a story of romantic passion to the format of a Beethoven symphony, it married personal expression to instrumental expression in a manner that inspired the most progressive music of the nineteenth century, especially in the hands of Liszt and Wagner. At early performances of the symphony Berlioz distributed a printed programme which explained the dramatic narrative of the work.

The autograph score is a document of 292 pages in various formats. Each of the five movements has separate pagination and four of them have their own title page. The score was used as a performance score for the first three or four years after composition, and was then copied into a second manuscript full score, now lost, from which the first printed edition was engraved in 1843– 44. It records revisions made by the composer before about 1834. It corresponds closely to the version of the symphony transcribed for the piano by Liszt and published by Schlesinger in October 1834. The first printed edition of the full score, published by Schlesinger in 1845, includes further revisions not shown in the autograph full score.

Bärenreiter's new and valuable facsimile edition in high-quality four-colour reproduction (BVK 1601), presents the manuscript as it is today – with strips of paper that can be folded out, making both versions visible.
With this facsimile, conductors, musicians and music lovers have the opportunity to comprehend the fascinating creative process of one of the great works of romantic music.

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