Suite from "Symphonie Fantastique"

From Wind Repertory Project
Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz (arr. Michael Story)

General Info

Year: 1830 / 2016
Duration: c. 6:45
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Alfred Music Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $72.00; (digital) - $72.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


1. A Ball
2. March to the Scaffold
3. A Witches' Sabbath


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Three movements from Berlioz's masterpiece, A Ball; March to the Scaffold and A Witches' Sabbath, are presented in this stellar transcription for concert band. The original is revered as one of the most vivid program pieces in classical music, and it remains one of the most popular works of the Romantic period. Carefully scored for the contemporary concert band, this setting provides an important addition to serious programming repertoire.

- Program Note from publisher

French composer Hector Berlioz wrote the five-movement Symphonie Fantastique in 1830. One of the most vivid program pieces in classical music, the work describes the life of an artist who has taken drugs to forget an unfulfilled love affair. Her then dreams of his own execution and arrival to the underworld. The piece remains to this day one of the most popular works of the Romantic period.

This suite is base don three of the movements: A Ball (II), March to the Scaffold (IV), and A Witches' Sabbath (V). The following passages are from Berlioz's actual program notes:

A Ball. The artist finds himself in the most diverse situations in life, in the tumult of a festive party, in the peaceful contemplation of the beautiful sights of nature, yet everywhere, whether in town or in the countryside, the beloved image keeps haunting him and throws his spirit into confusion.

March to the Scaffold. Convinced that his love is unappreciated, the artist poisons himself with opium. The dose of the narcotic, while too weak to cause his death, plunges him into a deep sleep accompanied by the strangest of visions. He dreams that he has killed his beloved, that he is condemned, led to the scaffold, and is witnessing his own execution. As he cries for forgiveness the effects of the narcotic set in. He wants to hide but he cannot, so he watches as an onlooker as he dies. The procession advances to the sound of a march that is sometimes somber and wild, and sometimes brilliant and solemn, in which a dull sound of heavy footsteps follows without transition the loudest outbursts. St the end of the march, the first four bars of the idée fixe reappear like the final thought of love interrupted by the fatal blow when his head bounces down the steps.

A Witches' Sabbath. He sees himself at a witches' sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral. The funeral knell tolls a burlesque parody of the Dies irae, the dance of the witches combined with the Dies irae.

-- Program Note by arranger


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class CC


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Works for Winds by This Composer