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Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique, Damnation De Faust Dances / Karajan


Release Date: 08/26/2008 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 463080   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

There’s more to this recording than the best funeral bells and the most focused tuba playing on disc in the finale of the Fantastique. Karajan did not record much Berlioz, but like many German conductors he had a special feeling for this particular work. He recorded it three times, once for EMI and twice for DG, the present version being his last and, on balance, most compelling.

Whether we’re talking about an especially cogent opening movement, the super-elegant waltz, or an unusually flowing and impressively sustained “Scène aux champs,” Karajan characterizes the piece beautifully, and of course the playing of the Berlin Philharmonic is pretty dazzling. The March to the Scaffold has a real spring to its step–yes, you
Read more won’t hear those trombone pedal tones as in some other performances (they do tend to come and go), but there’s no stinting on the grotesquerie; and the finale, as already suggested, is gratifyingly scary even if it’s not as frenetic as the Munch (but then, who is?). The two extracts from The Damnation of Faust are just as well done, and of course make the obvious filler.

The sonics are quite good from this source. The only depressing thing is that this performance may be difficult to source outside of the Karajan 70s box. This is a great, historically undervalued disc. It may not sound terribly “French,” but it does sound wonderful.

-- ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; France 
Date of Recording: 1975 
2.
La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Ballet of the Sylphs by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 
3.
La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Menuet des follets by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 

Sound Samples

Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 1. Rêveries. Passions (Largo - Allegro agitato ed appassionato assai)
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 2. Un bal (Valse: Allegro non troppo)
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 3. Scène aux champs (Adagio)
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 4. Marche au supplice (Allegretto non troppo)
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14: 5. Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat (Larghetto - Allegro - Ronde du Sabbat: Poco meno mosso)
La Damnation de Faust, Op.24 / Part 2: Ballet des Sylphes
La Damnation de Faust, Op.24 / Part 3: Menuet des Follets

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