Beethoven and more 2011 podcast #16: Devilish dance | Beethovenfest | DW | 30.09.2011
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Beethovenfest

Beethoven and more 2011 podcast #16: Devilish dance

Franz Liszt takes the listener to the heart of the Faust legend in this waltz. Out to show Faust a good time, the Devil, Mephistopheles, grabs a fiddle and begins to play…

A scene from the Faust legend from a 1920s silent film

As the devil looks on...

Franz Liszt
Mephisto Waltz No. 1 for orchestra ("The Dance in the Village Inn")
Roma and Sinti Philharmonic
Conductor: Riccardo M. Sahiti
MP3 recorded in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn, on September 24, 2011 by West German Radio, Cologne (WDR)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his version of the Faust legend inspired Franz Liszt again and again. Goethe's tale of a despairing scholar's pact with the Devil provides the background for Liszt's Faust Symphony as well as a series of four waltzes. The Roma and Sinti Philharmonic presented the first part of that series at the Beethovenfest.

The Mephisto Waltz No. 1 takes the listener straight to the heart of Goethe's legend. Faust has surrendered his soul in exchange for the worldly pleasures Mephistopheles promises to show him. The two stop into a bustling village inn where Mephistopheles snaps up a violin and sets the mood as Faust waltzes passionately with a young woman. The music describes the interplay between the three characters. Dark, almost sinister passages give way to soaring and innocent melodies.

"The First Mephisto Waltz is a masterpiece with such a story - of love, desire, disappointment, scandal, the soul, everything," said conductor Riccardo M. Sahiti.

"It's an entire journey through life."

Author: Greg Wiser
Editor: Rick Fulker

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