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Symphonie Fantastique [audio recording] by…
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Symphonie Fantastique [audio recording]

by Hector Berlioz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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862209,532 (4.5)2
  1. 00
    Complete Piano Music, Vol. 10 [Hyperion] by Franz Liszt (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: For piano lovers only. The Liszt transcription of the Fantastique has become legendary, and with good reason. Piano lovers who know the Symphony tolerably well would relish the comparison. The Howard recording is simply stupendous.
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» See also 2 mentions

German (1)  English (1)  All languages (2)
Hector Berlioz (1803–1869)

Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
[53’14]
[1] I. Rêveries – Passions: Largo – Allegro agitato e appassionato assai [14’32]
[2] II. Un bal: Valse; Allegro non troppo [6’21]
[3] III. Scène aux Champs: Adagio [16’48]
[4] IV. Marche au supplice: Allegretto non troppo [4’41]
[5] V. Songe d’une nuit de Sabbat: Largo – Allegro [10’51]

La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24
[6] Ballet des Sylphes [2’31]
[7] Menuet des feux follets [6’14]

Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan


Recorded: 10/1974 & 2/1975, Philharmonie, Berlin (Fantastique); 9/1971, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin (Damnation).

Deutsche Grammophon, n.d. 62’09. Galleria. Original-Image Bit-Processing. Liner notes by Julian Rushton & Hans Rutz.

========================================

This is Karajan’s fourth and last recording of the Fantastique, a work he conducted 50 times across almost as many years (1938-87). It is difficult to say whether this is his best recording: the first take with the Philharmonia (1954, EMI) and the remake with the Berliners (1964, DG) are both superb. But so is this last attempt. Perhaps it combines better the best of both worlds, namely incisive playing and fine sound. The brass in the last two movements is stupendous. I promise “March to the Scaffold” will blow you away. Careful with the volume control! But note also the tenderness of the opening “Reveries”, the exquisite “Scene in the Country” and the quietly spooky beginning of “The Ball”. The sound is vivid and well-balanced; if you don’t expect anything Decca-like, you won’t be disappointed. (There is also a fascinating, experimental and little-known video recording with Orchestre de Paris made in 1970, available on DVD from EMI.)

The bonus tracks are two light and charming pieces originally recorded for Karajan’s marvellous dance album. Both come from one of Berlioz’s more extravagant and less popular “dramatic symphonies”, this one inspired by Goethe’s Faust (the First Part, of course). The same work, much better known from extracts than from complete performances, also contains the famous “Rakoczy March”. (Liszt introduced Berlioz to the “Rakoczy March” just as Berlioz introduced Liszt to Goethe’s Faust. Fruitful friendship!) Karajan recorded twice this stirring orchestration of the famous Hungarian tune, but both times for EMI (1958, 1979). Pity. The later recording would have made a wonderful conclusion to the Berliozian feast on this Galleria edition. It can be heard on the albums Karajan: The Legend and Karajan à Paris. That brass is really something, isn’t it? ( )
1 vote Waldstein | Mar 1, 2019 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Berlioz, Hectorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kubelik, RafaelDirectorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matamoro, BlasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norrington, RogerConductorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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