Notes and Editorial Reviews
What, another Symphonie fantastique? How many do we need? Well, there's always room for a new Fantastique when it's as well played and beautifully recorded as the Cincinnati Symphony's classy achievement here, under Paavo Järvi's meticulous, thoughtful, and musicianly stewardship. While Järvi's tempos veer toward the broad side of the boulevard, they allow the conductor's clear textures to coalesce and take shape in ways that stress the score's eloquent melodicism, as opposed to its opiated drama in the manner of Munch, Bernstein, and Thomas. The whirling bassoon runs and sharp rhythmic pointing throughout the Finale, plus the silver-coated string tone and sparkling harp commentaries in Un Bal make my point.
Moreover, Telarc's gorgeous engineering balances Berlioz's radical orchestration and wide range of dynamics in proper, three-dimensional perspective. There's a stinging richness to the brass playing and spatial (as well as emotional) depth to the percussion that you seldom find on disc. I especially like how Järvi gradually builds the Dream of the Witches' Sabbath up from a deliberate start to an exultant climax in the final pages. Elegant restraint and flowing long lines characterize the Love Scene from Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, one of the finest individual performances of this movement since Giulini's memorable Chicago Symphony recording for EMI. Warmly recommended.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 by Hector Berlioz
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1830; France
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