Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique

by Michael Tilson Thomas
     
 
To judge any performance of Berlioz's "Symphonie fantastique," one must look beyond the portrayal of its sensational program to see how well it coheres as a symphony. Berlioz may have been the maddest of the Romantics, but he was quite sane in planning his work's design, and this daring score is still dependent on form to effectively tell its

Overview

To judge any performance of Berlioz's "Symphonie fantastique," one must look beyond the portrayal of its sensational program to see how well it coheres as a symphony. Berlioz may have been the maddest of the Romantics, but he was quite sane in planning his work's design, and this daring score is still dependent on form to effectively tell its tale. Michael Tilson Thomas, a skillful conductor of Romantic symphonies, understands that the "Symphonie fantastique" is more than an episodic tone poem, and he lays out its five movements with steadiness and a clear sense of trajectory. Reveries-Passions, A Ball, and the Scene in the Fields are properly treated as symphonic movements in the Sonata-Allegro, Scherzo, and Adagio scheme established by Beethoven. Taken together because they are connected in the narrative, the last two movements may be seen as an innovation on Beethoven's compound Finale in his "Symphony No. 9." In Tilson Thomas' carefully paced and calculated reading, the "March to the Scaffold" and the "Dream of a Witches' Sabbath" are truly shocking and blasphemous, and all the pent-up fury of the San Francisco Symphony is unleashed in these blood-curdling hallucinations. Recorded in 1997-1998, this 2004 reissue also offers excerpts from Berlioz's "Lélio." RCA's recording is wonderfully vivid and resonant.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/13/2004
Label:
Rca
UPC:
0828766085921
catalogNumber:
60859
Rank:
73327

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphonie fantastique for orchestra ("Episode de la vie d'un Artiste...en cinq parties"), H.48 (Op. 14)

    1. Rêveries - Passions  (15:50)
    2. Un bal  (06:57)
    3. Scène aux champs  (17:07)
    4. Marche au supplice  (06:41)
    5. Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat  (09:34)
  2. Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie, for 2 sopranos, alto, 3 tenors, 3 basses, chorus & orchestra ("monodrame lyrique"), H. 55 (Op. 14bis): Choeur des ombres

    1. Choeur des ombres  (06:28)
  3. Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie, for 2 sopranos, alto, 3 tenors, 3 basses, chorus & orchestra ("monodrame lyrique"), H. 55 (Op. 14bis): Fantaisie sur la Tempête de Shakespeare

    1. Fantaisie sur la Tempête de Shakespeare  (12:44)

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