Biret: Liszt, Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique (APE)
Biret: Liszt, Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique (APE)

Composer: Franz Liszt
Performer: Idil Biret
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Naxos
Size: 144 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Berlioz – Symphonie fantastique, S470, S395/R134-136: I. Reveries – Passions
02. Berlioz – Symphonie fantastique, S470, S395/R134-136: II. Un bal
03. Berlioz – Symphonie fantastique, S470, S395/R134-136: III. Scene aux champs
04. Berlioz – Symphonie fantastique, S470, S395/R134-136: IV. Marche au supplice
05. Berlioz – Symphonie fantastique, S470, S395/R134-136: V. Songe d’une nuit de Sabbat


Liszt’s transcription of the Symphonie Fantastique is one of his “partitions” — essentially faithful to the score, unlike his fantasies and paraphrases. Liszt’s enthusiasm for Berlioz is well known, and every scintilla of that fascination is imparted in this wholly thrilling paraphrase. For an orchestral piece written with the tone colours and the amplitude that this work has, the paraphrase is little short of amazing.
Idil Biret has formidable hands, and some of the artistry of her illustrious teacher, Alfred Cortot. That said, there are times when she exasperates me. Her choice of tempo can be puzzling, her phrasing uningratiating, and Naxos has often given her close, airless sound. But on this disk there are no reservations at all. She negotiates the crazy technical demands of this work with ease, and maintains her beauty of sound across a formidably wide dynamic. Her finale recaptures the barbarism and shock that the work’s first audiences must have felt. This is almost certainly her finest recording, even allowing for her excellent Brahms and Chopin.


  1. Le trascrizioni per pianoforte di opere orchestrali sono sempre gradite da chi ama questo strumento musicale. Grazie per il post.

    The piano transcriptions of orchestral works are always welcome by those who love this musical instrument. Thanks for the post.

  2. Thank-you. I very much enjoy piano transcriptions. They pare down the orchestral versions to the essential, giving a clarity to the composition that you can otherwise fail to appreciate.

    And I love Idil Biret’s playing; to me, it seems more fresh and vital than some others.

  3. There’s seems to be a Berlioz kick around here.

    Thank you for posting the Liszt transcription.

  4. As always I am so grateful to you for sharing. This particular recording has been missing from my collection since we were burgled some years ago.

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