Berlioz‘s ‘Symphonie fantastique’ is considered a moment of glory for the symphonic poem – in retrospect, for the term didn‘t exist when he composed it in 1830. Rather, the question was how to write symphonies at all after Beethoven. Berlioz gave this question a highly personal answer by assembling a loose plot, virtuosic orchestration and a leitmotif into a ‘musical drama’: the ‘Symphonie fantastique’. No less effective, if less well-known today, is its sequel ‘Lélio, or The Return to Life‘. The same artisthero who conjures up opium dreams in the ‘Fantastique’ now awakens, ponders his life and utters world-weary monologues written by Berlioz himself. A most unusual work!