With the release of this live recording of Hector Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique’, RCO Live celebrates the start of its collaboration with Daniele Gatti as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s Seventh Chief Conductor on September 9, 2016.
His unconventional take on this spectacular score evokes the astonishment audiences must have experienced at the time of the 1830 premiere. It is exactly this sense of surprise and freshness – founded on a thorough knowledge of the score – and the sheer joy of making music together, that prompted the members of the RCO to choose Daniele Gatti as their new Chief Conductor.
Conductor Daniele Gatti tells us: “Berlioz enriched my stay in Paris immeasurably. Not just with the orchestra, but as an ordinary citizen. I lived in the city, I had a little apartment, and I experienced the city like a Parisian. I read a lot of history, I’m mad about the French Revolution, and I became aware how at that historic, epic moment, the world changed completely. Not just in politics, but also in the arts.
The Enlightenment developed into the Sturm und Drang of the Romantic era. Berlioz is the clearest example of that, a composer who demonstrates quite literally what it means to be a ‘Romantic’ in a very personal sense: to consider the ordinary as extraordinary, the familiar as strange, the everyday as sacred, and the finite as infinite. In September of 2014, I conducted Roméo et Juliette with the Orchestre National, and it was then that I said, before I leave Paris I also want to do the Symphonie fantastique.”
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Daniele Gatti, Conductor
Total time: 00:58:11
|Analog to Digital Converters||
Horus, Merging Technologies at DXD (352.8 kHz)
|Original Recording Format|
Everett Porter, Karel Bruggeman, Lauran Jurrius
Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||November 11, 2016|
The string sound is silky. The brass glowing. The woodwind characterful.
This album is being released to mark the commencement of Gatti’s tenure as Music Director with the Concertgebouw. This relationship is already very special. In terms of heritage, the Concertgebouw have this music in their blood. Gatti’s conception is a worthy successor yet also rather different.
The first difference of note is that Gatti chooses to place the violins antiphonally which serves to clarify string textures throughout the work. The second, arguably the most noticeable, difference is that the first introduction of the idee fixe is given a great deal of space: in Gatti’s own words from the booklet “And so I took the tempo just a little bit slower there.” This decision is, to these ears, something of an understatement but one to which the listener quickly adjusts. After the double bar, the idee fixe is transferred to the violas, cellos and basses whereupon Gatti gives a rather unusual take on the dynamic instructions which is far more disconcerting than the earlier relaxation of the tempo.
Generally though, the textural balances are marvelously clean and one would never guess that this recording emanated from concert performances. The recording served up here is nothing short of sensational. It’s scarcely credible from the lack of audience noise that this derives from concert performances, the clarity is astounding (even for this hall) and the reflection of the playing in the dynamic range is simply wonderful.
This is simply outstanding music making and one can quite see why this collaboration became the prelude to their longer term relationship. Better yet, the recording is as good as the performance.
Performance and Multichannel Sonics: 5 Star Rating.
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