Franz Liszt: Dante Symphony – Part 2

Last updated Apr 11, 2021 | Published on Apr 8, 2021

Winner of a fellowship at the Bayreuther Festspiele, Mr. Griglio’s conducting has been praised for his “energy” and “fine details”. Mr. Griglio took part in the first world recording of music by composer Irwin Bazelon and conducted several world premieres like "The song of Eddie", by Harold Farberman, a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize. Principal Conductor of International Opera Theater Philadelphia for four years, Mr.Griglio is also active as a composer. His first opera, Camille Claudel, debuted in 2013 to a great success of audience and critics. Mr. Griglio is presently working on an opera on Caravaggio and Music Director of Opera Odyssey.

Table of contents

The purgatory

Leaving the circles of hell, Dante and Virgil find themselves at the feet of Mount Purgatory, in this case the second movement of the symphony.

The structure of the second movement is tripartite, with a solemn and quiet first section, in two parts; a second, more animated section in which a fugue is gradually built leading to a climax; finally a third section that sees the return to the initial sentiment, of which it summarizes the main themes.

This ternary structure reflects the architecture of Dante’s Purgatory: the ante-purgatory, where the excommunicate and the late repentant expiate their sins; the seven cornices of the mountain where the 7 deadly sins are expiated, and finally the earthly Paradise at the top, from which the soul, now purged of sin, ascends to Paradise.


Should you need a score you can find one here.

The movement opens in D with an Andante con moto quasi Allegretto. Tranquillo assai.
Everything is very quiet. The opening theme is introduced by a solo horn accompanied by muted strings and the harp.

Liszt - Dante Symphony Part 2 - ex.1
Liszt - Dante Symphony Part 2 - ex.2

The theme is taken up by the woodwinds and horns to vanish after 22 bars in rising and falling arpeggios of the harp

Liszt - Dante Symphony Part 2 - ex.3

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Gianmaria Griglio is an intelligent, exceptional musician. There is no question about his conducting abilities: he has exceptionally clear baton technique that allows him to articulate whatever decisions he has made about the music.

Harold Farberman

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