Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique (2010)

Berlioz

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Marek Janowski

The date is September 11, 1827. As is the rest of Europe, Paris is mesmerized at the time by English culture. Among the audience attending a performance Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Théatre Odeon is the 23-year-old composer Hector Berlioz, who is subsequently overwhelmed by the perceptive imagination of this dramatic poet. And he discovers the actress Harriet Smithson, who is playing the role of Ophelia, to be at least equally impressive. Thus the young composer is smitten by an all-consuming passion for Shakespeare and the actress alike. Later, he states prophetically that this woman will one day become his wife, and that he will write his greatest symphony based on this drama.

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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

For more than 115 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has been an essential part of Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape. The PSO, known for its artistic excellence, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. This tradition was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck assumed the position of Music Director with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Heading the list of internationally recognized conductors to have led the PSO is Victor Herbert, Music Director between 1898 and 1904, who influenced the early development of the PSO. Preceding Herbert was Frederic Archer (1896-1899), the first Pittsburgh Orchestra Conductor. The Orchestra’s solidification as an American institution took place in the late 1930s under the direction of Maestro Otto Klemperer. Conductors prior to Klemperer were Emil Paur (1904-1910), Elias Breeskin (1926-1930) and Antonio Modarelli (1930-1937). From 1938 to 1948, under the dynamic directorship of Fritz Reiner, the Orchestra embarked on a new phase of its history, making its first international tour and its first commercial recording. The PSO’s standard of excellence was maintained and enhanced through the inspired leadership of William Steinberg during his quarter-century as Music Director between 1952 and 1976. André Previn (1976-1984) led the Orchestra to new heights through tours, recordings and television, including the PBS series, Previn and the Pittsburgh. Lorin Maazel began his relationship with the PSO in 1984 as Music Consultant but later served as a highly regarded Music Director from 1988-1996. As Music Director from 1997-2004, Mariss Jansons furthered the artistic growth of the orchestra, and upon his departure, the PSO created an innovative leadership model with Artistic Advisor Sir Andrew Davis, Principal Guest Conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier and Endowed Guest Conductor Chair Marek Janowski. These three conductors formed the primary artistic leadership for the Orchestra until January 2007, when the PSO selected Honeck to take the reins at the start of the 2008-2009 season. In February 2012, Honeck agreed to extend his contract with the PSO through the 2019-2020 season.

Marek Janowski

Marek Janowski has been artistic director of the Rundfunk- Sinfonieorchester Berlin (= RSB, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin) since 2002. Under his directorship between 1984 and 2000, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France rose to become the leading orchestra in France. During a number of years, he also put his personal stamp on the Gu?rzenich Orchester Köln (1986-1990), the Dresdner Philharmonie (2001-2003), the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo (2000-2005), and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (2005-2012).

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Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique (2010)

Berlioz

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

    "seemingly endless array of skillfully crafted sounds"

Even though Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique is one of the most familiar classical works, performances are often surprising for the variety of sonorities that can still be found in it and for the exciting ways it can be interpreted. Berlioz was the Romantic showman par excellence, and he made this piece a showcase for what the modern orchestra could do, from conventional playing to special innovative effects. This DSD recording from PentaTone captures Symphonie fantastique in all its hallucinatory strangeness and vividness. Marek Janowski and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra present the symphony and the King Lear Overture with exquisite polish. The marvelous audio production practically gets inside the ensemble and allows each part to have its distinctive -- and sometimes disturbing -- place in the mix. Beyond the fabulous sound, this is also an incredibly gripping interpretation because Janowski conveys all the passion and impulsiveness of the drug-addled artist in the work's program. Indeed, the music is as hot-headed and deranged as the composer intended, and listeners will feel compelled to listen to the whole SACD in one sitting, so riveting is this live performance for its high energy and seemingly endless array of skillfully crafted sounds. Highly recommended. 5 Stars.

Blair Sanderson[read full review]

Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique (2010)

Berlioz

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Producer: Job Maarse
Recording Engineer: Mark Donahue, Dirk Sobotka
Recording location: Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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PTC5186338: Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique
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Tracks.
1.
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: Reveries - Passions
Berlioz
00:14:17   Select quality & channels above
2.
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 2. Un bal (Valse)
Berlioz
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3.
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 3. Scene aux champs (Adagio)
Berlioz
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4.
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 4. Marche au supplice (Allegretto)
Berlioz
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5.
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 5. Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat
Berlioz
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6.
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 6. Dies irae
Berlioz
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7.
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 7. Ronde du Sabbat
Berlioz
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8.
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 8. Dies irae et Ronde de Sabbat
Berlioz
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9.
"Overture ""Le roi Lear"", Op. 4"
Berlioz
00:14:59   Select quality & channels above

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