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The closest of friends in the early eighteen-thirties, Berlioz and Liszt shared artistic aspirations (especially around the latter’s reworkings of the former’s Symphonie fantastique and its sequel, Le Retour à la vie) and personal adventures (especially around the former’s irrational passion for the Irish actress Harriet Smithson and the latter’s efforts at counsel and consolation). These matters are discussed in the context of Berlioz’s private (and I believe insensitive) announcement, in a letter to Liszt sent four days after the marriage, that his new wife had been a virgin.

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