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Bernstein Century - Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique, Etc


Release Date: 05/18/1999 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 60968   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This 1963 Symphonie fantastique is receiving its CD premiere now because Bernstein re-recorded the piece some four years later, obtaining slightly better playing, but sacrificing some of the music's hallucinogenic qualities. This is, in fact, the most drugged-out performance of the work that you will ever hear, and it's accompanied by a delightful spoken essay (essentially word for word the same as appears in the "Young People's Concerts") that explores the highlights of the composer's opium-induced vision. It's easy to see why Bernstein, in a more reflective moment, might have found some of this performance's rougher edges a bit alarming (Just listen to those tubas in the finale. Incredible!). On the other hand, in these days of Read more authentic instruments, a little edge to the sound isn't considered such a bad thing, and all of the squeaks, grunts, and thuds that Bernstein elicits from his players have ample justification in Berlioz's revolutionary score. This truly is a great performance, one that goes straight to the top of the list alongside Charles Munch's classic Boston version (RCA).

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; France 
Date of Recording: 05/27/1963 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 51 Minutes 23 Secs. 
2.
Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14: Excerpt(s) by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Leonard Bernstein (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; France 
Date of Recording: 03/05/1968 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City 
Length: 15 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: In this selection, entitled 'Berlioz Takes A Trip,' Leonard Bernstein discusses Berlioz's 'Symphonie fantastique' with musical illustrations by the New York Philharmonic. 

Sound Samples

I. Rêveries - Passions
II. Un bal
III. Scène aux champs
IV. Marche au supplice
V. Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat
Berlioz Takes A Trip - Leonard Bernstein explores the Symphonie fantastique with musical illustrations by the New York Philharmonic

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