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Marche Hongroise (arr Smith)

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Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz (arr. L Smith)

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Subtitle: from Damnation of Faust

This work also bears the titles "Damnation of Faust," Rakoczy March," and "Hungarian March," and is designated Opus 24.

General Info

Year: 1820 / 1846 / 1961
Duration: c. 5:20
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Alfred Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The melodies in this work reportedly date from the time of Ferencz Rákóczy (1676-1735), a Hungarian national hero from whom this march takes one of its names. The march was popularized by Rákóczy's army and sung by the Hungarians since the 18th century. The first known printing of the original march was made in Vienna in 1820 in a collection for the piano entitled Auswahl der Beliebtesten Märsche für das K.K. 32te Linien Infanterie Regiment Fürst Esterhazy. The cover states that the collection was "composed" by Nicholas Scholl, head of the Music Chapel of Prince Esterhazy. Other sources credit Janos Bihari, a Hungarian Gypsy violinist, or Karl Vaczek, but the eminent Czech musicologist Miroslav Bláha believes the march was written by Ignatius or Joseph Ruzicka.

The work underwent several changes through the years, and Berlioz's arrangement of the shorter version was published by Treichlinger in Pest (later Budapest) in 1846. The composer decided to use the march while he was in Hungary making arrangements for a performance of The Damnation of Faust (which he described as a "dramatic legend" rather than an opera or an oratorio). He appreciated the patriotism of the Hungarians and changed his libretto to suit the situation, taking the "much traveled" Faust to Hungary so that he might see the troops depart for the war -- thus creating an opportunity for the playing of this march. The success of the plan was so overwhelming during the 1846 concert tour that Berlioz later wrote, "The hall was shaken by the wildest cries and stampings. I felt my hair standing on end."

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

The Marche Hangroise is based on a folk tune that dates from the time of Ferencz Rákóczy (1676-1735). In 1846, Berlioz was preparing for a concert tour in Hungary; it was a time during which the Hungarian independence movement was growing ever more volatile. He was advised to include a Hungarian tune in his repertoire, and he scored his own setting of the Rákóczy March, which premiered in Budapest. Berlioz later inserted the march into his opera La damnation de Faust, it is believed, to gain more acceptance for the oratorio. He had to take liberties with the original Faust legend, to divert Faust to a Hungarian plain, where a band was playing the Rákóczy March.

- Program Note from Southwest High School Wind Symphony concert program, 17 December 2015

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: V


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Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Berlioz, H.; Smith, L. (1961). Marche Hongroise (Rakoczy) from Damnation of Faust [score]. Belwin: Rockville Centre, N.Y.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 61-62.