I was in a Lisztian mood last night. I watched a DVD of Franz Liszt's "A Faust Symphony," performed by the Boston Symphony, conducted by Leonard Bernstein. The performance was recorded in about 1977. Some consider this symphony to be Liszt's masterpiece. It surely contains one of the most colorful families of leitmotifs in the orchestral repertoire. In fact, each character in Goethe's play is so vividly depicted that you might not be remiss in calling it an opera without words Leonard Bernstein gives an exhuberant, powerful performance, extracting from his Boston Symphony players matching prowess Bernstein excelled in this kind of repertoire, he was especially gifted to conduct these romantic works that explored the full range of emotional writing as well as that of the orchestral capabilities.
I saw a live performance of the work in September 1982 with Ricardo Muti conducting the Philadelphia orchestra. I enjoyed the performance so much that I went to a second performance. The Philadelphia Orchestra still performed at the Academy of Music in those days.
I fell into a Lisztian mood last night as I watched "A Faust Symphony."