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Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique; Roussel / Markevitch

Release Date: 10/16/2008 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 423957   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Hector BerliozAlbert Roussel
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The consistent nervous intensity was what marked out Markevitch's reading of the Symphonie fantastique. His impetuousness is immediately striking in the allegro of the first movement, but it sounds highly charged and spontaneous. The Waltz too, although not without elegance, has an underlying neurosis and the Adagio, for all its pastoral atmosphere is never bland. What Markevitch achieves is to balance the movement's natural repose with the composer's underlying hints of emotional instability, so that when the climax wells up after some gloriously warm and serene string playing, it produces a sudden explosive power, only to subside again quite naturally. The opening of the finale, after the rasping bite of the ''Marche au supplice'' is Read more immediately gripping in its atmospheric evocation, and there is plenty of doom-laden excitement, with the church bell, tolling dramatically, answered by the Dies irae given ponderous, sinister force by the deep brass. The movement moves inexorably to its apotheosis, never over-driven, yet with the tension held consistently. All in all this is a singularly compulsive reading—a real performance, which grips this listener unreservedly. The Lamoureux Orchestra play with great vividness and the recording matches the playing. The digital remastering retains the full analogue ambience and the believable original balance; only the focus of the upper strings reveals the recording date and their timbre is fully acceptable.

Roussel's Bacchus et Ariane makes a generous coupling. Its rhythmic pungency and abrasive lyricism are well caught here and the orchestra again play very well, if not quite so outstandingly as in the symphony. The recording too is slightly drier, though still convincingly balanced.

Ivan March, Gramophone [1/1989]
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Works on This Recording

Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; France 
Date of Recording: 1/1961 
Venue:  Salle de la Mutualité, Paris 
Bacchus et Ariane, Op. 43: Suite no 2 by Albert Roussel
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930/1934; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1958 
Venue:  Salle de la Mutualité, Paris 

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