Liszt / Orchestre Philharmonique Royal De Liege - Faust-Symphony Mephisto Waltz No. 1 (Hybr) | RECORD STORE DAY

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Few literary works exerted as strong an influence on European culture in the 19th century as Goethe's play Faust. While several important composers drew inspiration from it, Franz Liszt seems to have had a particularly close relationship with Goethe's masterpiece. He came up with the idea of a symphony 'in three characteristic pictures', each devoted to a key character in the play: Faust, Gretchen and Mephistopheles. Rather than telling the story of the play, Liszt composed a psychological exploration of these three main figures. He was also a pioneer in his use of leitmotifs, i.e. short musical ideas that underline a trait of character or evoke feelings, a process that his future son-in-law, Richard Wagner, would take even further in his operas.This recording presents the original, purely instrumental version of the Faust Symphony from 1854. This gigantic work is complemented by the first of the Mephisto Waltzes, inspired by Nikolaus Lenau's vision of the Faust myth. These two works offer two very different perspectives on Liszt's intense relationship with the character of Faust, and in particular with that of Mephistopheles, around whom many of his compositions are structured. They are key works for understanding Liszt's aesthetic project and the typical nineteenth-century tendency towards a combination of the arts.