With all its innovations – including the introduction of instruments, textures, rhythms and gestures new to symphonic music – the Symphonie fantastique has its roots in other music, past and present. It was influenced by the music of Gluck and Spontini, which was for several years Berlioz’s main diet and whose melodic style he absorbed into his innermost being when he first came to Paris in 1821, a boy of 17 who had never heard an orchestra. A few years later, the discovery of Weber, and, still more, of Beethoven at the Conservatoire concerts in 1828 (paralleling the impact of Goethe and Shakespeare) had an even more profound effect upon the young musician, who had, until then, been reared on French Classical opera. The Symphonie fantastique is unthinkable without Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ and Fifth, and without Weber’s Der Freischu?tz. Above all, the revelation of the symphony as a dramatic form par excellence, and of the orchestra as an expressive instrument of undreamed of richness and flexibility, opened before Berlioz a new world, which he must at all costs enter and inhabit.
Total time: 01:05:35
Classic Sound ltd. Jonathan Stokes, Neil Hutchinson
|Original Recording Format|
Classic Sound Ltd. Jonathan Stokes
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||June 15, 2015|
Interpretation **** Sound Quality *****
The LSO goes beyond the dramatization of the orchestra, towards a dramatization of the individual musicians.
[Gergiev’s] Symphonie fantastique is of exceptional narrative dimension – a true epic, set to music! Volcanic, warrior-like, this revolutionary piece is performed with uncommon rage. This is Symphonie fantastique, ridden by Gergiev. One bows in respect.
The playing of the opening of the first movement of Berlioz Symphonie fantastique is warm and tender with dark contrasted colours…Gergiev employs the broadest of colour palates, subtle tempo changes, rubato and other creative means to gain maximum expressiveness from the music. The other movements produce a rich and expressive sound, not least because of the exceptional quality of the London Symphony’s soloists – especially the woodwinds….the Witches Sabbath is terrific…
Classical CD Choice
The opening movement ‘Rêveries – Passions’ is uncharacteristically relaxed and poetic with beautifully nuanced playing especially from the strings. Gergiev’s seating of the orchestra with antiphonal violins is an excellent plus point as is his inclusion of the exposition repeat – something not always found on recordings from the past…This issue represents a considerable bargain for those sympathetic to Gergiev’s persuasive Berlioz and I look forward to its future continuation.
The best of this revolutionary format.
The lossless DTS Master Audio tracks are really superb. The music emerges from a noiseless background. The strings sound realistic, and the orchestral image is well rendered in the front speakers. The deep bass is solid for the fourth and fifth movements, never blurring and the dense orchestration never becomes sonically diffuse. It’s a demonstration quality recording with the wide dynamic range high resolution audio that are so well reproduced.
Superb new recording… the climax of tonight’s concert of recent releases.
For a new departure for LSO Live the 2-disc package contains both a hybrid SACD with 5.1 multi-channel and 2.0 stereo mixes and also a Pure Audio Blu-ray disc. The latter also includes what is modestly described on the CD case as ‘video footage’, but is in fact an excellently filmed complete Barbican performance of the Symphonie fantastique in high definition video. This is well worth watching if only to marvel at how the tooth pick wielding maestro gets such compelling results from his orchestra.
International Record Review
He (Gergiev) drives the orchestra ferociously to one of the most terrifying climaxes imaginable… It is a memorable performance.
BBC Music Magazine
For good measure, as well as the high-quality surround-sound recording, there is additional video footage of the symphony. Sonically, this is in a difference class from the Davis disc… The playing from the London Symphony Orchestra is, as so often, exceptionally refined, yet very much alive and full of colour in both the Symphonie fantastique and the accompanying Waverley Overture.
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