Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) La Damnation de Faust Op. 24 – The Damnation of Faust
Dramatic Legend [solos,mix ch,orch] duration: 120' Text: Hector Berlioz, Gérard de Nerval and Almire Gandonnière
solos: MezTBar(B)BS(boy's voice) – choir: SATTBB SA(boy's choir)- 3(3picc).2(cor ang).2.B-clar.4. – 4.2.2flhn.3.2. – 2timp.perc(4) – 2hp – str – stage music: 2hn.2trp
In "La Damnation de Faust”, Goethe’s work only serves as one of several sources of inspiration. The most conspicuous difference between Goethe’s Faust and Berlioz’s is the lead character’s musically vertiginous gallop into the abyss.
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Duration: full evening
Text by the composer and A. Gandonnière based on the translation of Goethes "Faust I" by Gérard de Nerval
Translation: German (H. Neugebauer), Engl. (W. Wallace)
Place: plain in Hungary, in Northern Germany in Fausts study, Auerbachs Cellar in Leipzig, edge of the river Elbe, in Gretchens room, in the forest with caves.
Characters: Marguerite (mezzo-soprano) - Faust (tenor) - Méphistophélès (baritone) - Brander (bass)
The genesis of "La Damnation de Faust" can be divided into two phases: the "Huit scènes de Faust" of 1828/29 constitute the basis for the larger work, which was written in the winter of 1845/46 while Berlioz was on a conducting tour in Austria, Hungary, Bohemia and Silesia. Nervals translation of Faust had made a profound impression on the young Berlioz: "I was immediately fascinated by the wonderful book and simply couldnt put it down. I read it constantly - while eating, at the theater, on the street, everywhere. The prose translation contained several parts in verse, songs, chants and so on. I yielded to the temptation of setting it to music. In "La Damnation de Faust, Goethes work only serves as one of several sources of inspiration, next to lithographs of Eugène Delacroix, for example. The most conspicuous difference between Goethes Faust and Berliozs is the lead characters musically vertiginous gallop into the abyss.