Composed by Hector Berlioz
For Woodwind Quintet
Arranged by Joachim Linckelmann
Published by Barenreiter
Instrumentation: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in A, Horn in F, and Bassoon
Hector Berlioz' Marche hongroise, also known as the Rakoczy March after Hungary's like-named national hero, forms part of his “dramatic legend” The Damnation of Faust of 1846. It is an orchestral arrangement of an anonymous military march and originated during a highly successful concert tour that took the composer to Austria, Hungary and Bohemia. The enthusiastic reception given to the piece by audiences in Pest prompted Berlioz to transport Part 1 of The Damnation of Faust into reality – in this case the reality of present-day Hungary – whereas in Goethe's original the passage takes place entirely in Faust's imagination.
Berlioz had formed an acquaintance with Goethe's play as a twenty-three-year-old student of medicine. Even then he resolved to use it as the basis for a piece of music. In Part 1, Scene 3 of this four-part work, Faust hears an army approaching in the distance. The call to arms is unmistakable, and all are stirred by the hymn of victory – except for Faust, whose heart remains unmoved. The soldiers pass by to the strains of the Rakoczy March.
Surely neither the performers nor the listeners of this arrangement are equally likely to remain unmoved, if not by martial fustian, then by the bright and colorful sounds of the woodwinds. And who, after all, would wish to emulate Faust in the further progress of his story?
— Joachim Linckelmann
(translated by J. Bradford Robinson)