Here's a real bargain: three LPs-worth of excellent Berlioz performances on two CDS, offered for the price of one! Leonard Bernstein's dramatic yet classically structured recording of the Symphonie fantastique was highly regarded when it was first issued, but outside of purchasing an import LP, American audiences have not been able to hear it in all its glory until now. Enter EMI's new ART technology, which has stripped away distortion and audio gunk to reveal a transparent recording that is quite resonant yet loaded with detail. The same can be said for the recording of Harold in Italy, which is performed with high passion by Bernstein and soloist Donald McInnes. In fact, the only performance I can peg that is more fervent would be CharlesRead more Munch with William Primose and the Boston Symphony. I have always felt that Previn's ardent, exceptionally well played readings of five of the composer's overtures is highly underrated, and in this current incarnation these pieces sound about as good as any I have ever heard. Even if you have these works in other performances, this set makes for a good second opinion, especially considering the bargain price.
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