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Recorded Stream Online Liszt & Berlioz Marathon

Hector Berlioz: Harold en Italie (symphonic poem)

Máté Szűcs – viola

Conducted by: András Vass

Concert estimated duration: 45 minutes
Ticket prices: Free, live, multi-hour broadcast featuring several participants including the concert of the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra which is broadcast on the MÜPA www.mupa.hu and BFZ www.bfz.hu websites at 7 PM as in previous years.




on Müpa Budapest webpage HERE

on Budapest Festival Orchestra HERE

and the programme of ALL DAY music maraton from 10AM HERE available.

Marathons have become an inherent tradition in the life of Müpa and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The all-day programmes of these events focus on the oeuvre of a single composer, while the audience can immerse in their music as it agrees with their taste and temper: they can enjoy the programme for any length of time, from just one concert to an entire day. This year, we can welcome two "star guests", the two dare-devils of Romanticism, Liszt and Berlioz. Both of them evoked passionate feelings in their contemporaries in a positive and a negative sense. They changed the course of quite a few musical genres of the time (e.g. concertos, symphonies and programme music). The Pannon Philharmonic joins in the marathon with a rarely staged Berlioz composition with a profoundly personal message. The PFZ coaxes the audience locked up before their televisions to follow them to eternal Italy right before the final concert given by the event's host, our namesake, the BFZ.  Berlioz's viola concerto/symphony Harold en Italie relates the composer’s experiences in Italy, clothed in the gown of Byron’s hero. As Liszt put it, it is an encounter between marvellous Italy and the embittered protagonist. At this concert, not only Byron and Berlioz but also the audience with a deep longing for far off lands can visit this beautiful south-European country.

Harold en Italie

Three artists' passion in a single masterpiece  – could be the summary of this composition, which is a symphony, a concerto and a symphonic poem in one. It was commissioned from Berlioz by Paganini infinitely enthused by the Fantastic Symphony with the odd reservation that the composition's solo instrument should be the viola. (At the time, the viola was not considered a solo instrument, what's more, Paganini gained world fame as a violinist.) In this composition of his, Berlioz roams Italy "clothed" as Harold, Byron's hero, but in fact, he relates his own experiences gained there. A further curiosity of the piece is that Paganini did not even attend the premiere a year later; he heard the work only four years later when he was ravished by it. The public opinion of the period was much less enthusiastic, but Liszt went so far as to write an essay on it. He regarded Berlioz's composition as a very praiseworthy masterpiece, where marvellous Italy and the embittered protagonist could encounter one another.


The work consists of four movements, each with a "programme" of its own:

I. Harold in the mountains. Scenes of melancholy, happiness and joy. Adagio – Allegro

II. Procession of pilgrims singing the evening hymn. Allegretto

III. Serenade of an Abruzzi-mountaineer to his sweetheart. Allegro assai

IV. The brigands' orgies. Reminiscences of the preceding scenes.Allegro frenetico

Pannon Philharmonic performances extend a gold-backed guarantee, that time spent unwinding at our high-quality concerts will ripen into an opportunity for collaborative music making.
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