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Hector Berlioz
Visiting Hungary for the first time in 1846, Berlioz wrote a piece using the unofficial Hungarian national anthem of the time, the Rákóczi March. The reception of his Rákóczi March, “with a new coda and recently orchestrated” at its premiere in Pest on February 15, 1846 was overwhelming. Midway through, when the music crescendoed and the opening motif was played alongside cannon-like accelerating drumbeats, the audience’s patriotic sentiment soared. In the end, there was so much commotion that the performance had to stop. By the next day, the French composer had become a hero in the Hungarian media. Berlioz incorporated his Rákóczi March, after slight revision, into The Damnation of Faust that he was composing then and retitled it “Hungarian March.”