Author Topic: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14  (Read 30668 times)

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Offline MishaK

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #160 on: July 31, 2020, 12:55:58 PM »
Oh, wow. I did not know that existed. When was that Otterloo disc recorded?

Offline aligreto

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #161 on: August 02, 2020, 12:44:18 AM »
Oh, wow. I did not know that existed. When was that Otterloo disc recorded?

I have checked the CD but it does not give that information, unfortunately.
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #162 on: August 02, 2020, 12:50:07 AM »
I have checked the CD but it does not give that information, unfortunately.

His discography (Discogs) gives the year as 1954.

Offline aligreto

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #163 on: August 02, 2020, 12:58:44 AM »
His discography (Discogs) gives the year as 1954.

Thank you for that.
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #164 on: August 02, 2020, 01:52:42 AM »
Until it woke from its slumbers a week or so ago I didn't know this thread existed. I paged back for a while and found some of the comments interesting though I haven't read everything.

The French magazine Classica has a regular feature where available versions of a work are reviewed and a best version decided on. A short list of eight is chosen and three guest critics listen to it blind and rank the recordings in order, with comments. In the February 2017 issue the work under scrutiny was the Symphoninie fantastique so I thought it might be of interest. All three guest critics were French. There is no indication who made the short list. In reverse order recordings were -

No 8 - Jos van Immerseel/Anima aeterna - two of the critics thought it had some interesting points, the third rejected it completely.

No 7. Colin Davis/LSO (1963) - they acknowledged its status as an historic reference of the work but had various reservations.

No 6. John Eliot Gardiner/ORR - they seemed to enjoy it but felt the dry acoustic of the Conservatoire Hall (the original venue) let it down.

No 5. Leonard Bernstein/NYPO - they enjoyed 'la charme et la noblesse' of this performance

No 4. Charles Munch/ Boston SO (1954) - 'une grande reference' - they definitely liked it!

No 3. Pierre Boulez/Cleveland Orchestra - admired for its beauty of sound and the playing of the Clevelanders

No 2. Colin Davis/Concertgebouw Orchestra - sumptuous and virtuosic (the orchestra), elegant (Davis)

No 1. Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony Orchestra - a jewel ('diamant') of the discography. Limitless imagination in the interpretation.

Though it is a fine performance I was a bit surprised Paray was the top choice, I will have to revisit it soon. My all time favourite is still Davis/LSO (1963) though Martinon/ORTF Orchestra runs it close.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 03:20:06 AM by Biffo »

Offline aligreto

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #165 on: August 02, 2020, 02:42:29 AM »
I have not heard the Paul Paray/Detroit Orchestra version.
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Offline Irons

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #166 on: August 02, 2020, 04:25:03 AM »
I have not heard the Paul Paray/Detroit Orchestra version.

Surprisingly, I have the CD. Must have purchased in the early 1990's and spent the last 30 years on a shelf in a room I grandly call my study. Thanks to Biffo it will migrate downstairs and will get a play in the not too distant future.
Hard to believe due to his reputation, but the Klemperer SF is very good.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #167 on: August 02, 2020, 05:09:27 AM »
I have not heard the Paray either. We on GMG once did an epic blind listening game of the Symphonie, but as I recall, none of the really thrilling recordings (e.g. Bernstein or Munch) made the final round, with the result that it became Davis/Concertgebouw vs. Martinon. I could be wrong. It didn't really help change my favorites...but now Paray I must find...

Online TheGSMoeller

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #168 on: August 02, 2020, 07:44:07 AM »

No 8 - Jos van Immerseel/Anima aeterna - two of the critics thought it had some interesting points, the third rejected it completely.


No 4. Charles Munch/ Boston SO (1954) - 'une grande reference' - they definitely liked it!


I just listened to these two the other day! And it's almost as night-&-day as you can get with fantastique recordings. The Munch/Boston is so incredibly exciting, it contains the necessary edge at the right times. The Immerseel's atmosphere is very light in comparison to others, but I love the smooth and haunting tone that Anima aeterna produces. Plus it's the only recording I own (which is at least 15) that uses a piano rather than bells during the dies irae.
 

I have not heard the Paray either. We on GMG once did an epic blind listening game of the Symphonie, but as I recall, none of the really thrilling recordings (e.g. Bernstein or Munch) made the final round, with the result that it became Davis/Concertgebouw vs. Martinon. I could be wrong. It didn't really help change my favorites...but now Paray I must find...

I think the Martinon won.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #169 on: August 02, 2020, 08:13:20 AM »
I just listened to these two the other day! And it's almost as night-&-day as you can get with fantastique recordings. The Munch/Boston is so incredibly exciting, it contains the necessary edge at the right times. The Immerseel's atmosphere is very light in comparison to others, but I love the smooth and haunting tone that Anima aeterna produces. Plus it's the only recording I own (which is at least 15)

That's a tumbrilful of fantastique!
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Offline Que

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #170 on: August 02, 2020, 08:15:06 AM »
I found the Davis/RCO terribly unexciting...  ::)

The problem with multicritic choices or listening contests is that you end up with the biggest common denominator, which is possibly nobody's first choice....

Q
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 08:18:25 AM by Que »

Offline André

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #171 on: August 02, 2020, 09:04:14 AM »
The piano in van Immerseel’s account is indeed rather special. A very nice account. I also like Ansermet, for diametrically opposed reasons. It’s one of the clearest, least eccentric versions around. You can count on Ansermet to tell it as it is, no more, no less. He is less ‘symphonic’ than Davis, Munch or Karajan, more attentive to various instrumental/harmonic details.

That being said, Karajan II remains my benchmark version. I know I am in a tiny minority here, but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn  ;D.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #172 on: August 02, 2020, 09:11:29 AM »
I found the Davis/RCO terribly unexciting...  ::)
It's a rather unspectacular "philharmonic" version, one would probably rather expect from a German or Austrian conductor.
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Offline MishaK

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #173 on: August 02, 2020, 01:11:40 PM »
His discography (Discogs) gives the year as 1954.

Quite odd of the Berliners to do three recordings of the work in short succession and none of them with their music director (Marekevich, Otterloo, Kempe).

I found the Davis/RCO terribly unexciting...  ::)

The problem with multicritic choices or listening contests is that you end up with the biggest common denominator, which is possibly nobody's first choice....

Q

More likely just the bias toward British performers of the major audiophile magazines. In all fairness, Davis is amazingly precise about following every tiny detail in the score. His is a recording worth following with score in hand. I would say, though, that of his various traversals, the last one on LSO Live is the most compelling.

Offline some guy

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #174 on: August 02, 2020, 04:33:52 PM »
Thanks for this, Biffo. Very interesting picks.

I'm not surprised by the Paray. He never managed to build a huge reputation, but his recordings range from solid to inspired.

I'm more surprised that the Martinon you mentioned didn't make the short list. Martinon's another one whose talent far exceeds his reputation. Not as far as Paray but still pretty far.

Until it woke from its slumbers a week or so ago I didn't know this thread existed. I paged back for a while and found some of the comments interesting though I haven't read everything.

The French magazine Classica has a regular feature where available versions of a work are reviewed and a best version decided on. A short list of eight is chosen and three guest critics listen to it blind and rank the recordings in order, with comments. In the February 2017 issue the work under scrutiny was the Symphoninie fantastique so I thought it might be of interest. All three guest critics were French. There is no indication who made the short list. In reverse order recordings were -

No 8 - Jos van Immerseel/Anima aeterna - two of the critics thought it had some interesting points, the third rejected it completely.

No 7. Colin Davis/LSO (1963) - they acknowledged its status as an historic reference of the work but had various reservations.

No 6. John Eliot Gardiner/ORR - they seemed to enjoy it but felt the dry acoustic of the Conservatoire Hall (the original venue) let it down.

No 5. Leonard Bernstein/NYPO - they enjoyed 'la charme et la noblesse' of this performance

No 4. Charles Munch/ Boston SO (1954) - 'une grande reference' - they definitely liked it!

No 3. Pierre Boulez/Cleveland Orchestra - admired for its beauty of sound and the playing of the Clevelanders

No 2. Colin Davis/Concertgebouw Orchestra - sumptuous and virtuosic (the orchestra), elegant (Davis)

No 1. Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony Orchestra - a jewel ('diamant') of the discography. Limitless imagination in the interpretation.

Though it is a fine performance I was a bit surprised Paray was the top choice, I will have to revisit it soon. My all time favourite is still Davis/LSO (1963) though Martinon/ORTF Orchestra runs it close.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #175 on: August 02, 2020, 04:41:02 PM »
No 5. Leonard Bernstein/NYPO - they enjoyed 'la charme et la noblesse' of this performance

Did they say whether they selected the 1963 or the 1968 (or either?)

Offline Biffo

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #176 on: August 03, 2020, 12:19:54 AM »
Did they say whether they selected the 1963 or the 1968 (or either?)

Definitely the 1963 recording with the NYPO. I didn't know about the 1968 version. I also have the recording he made with the French National Orchestra - dated 1977 on the HMV disc.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #177 on: August 03, 2020, 02:46:07 AM »
Definitely the 1963 recording with the NYPO. I didn't know about the 1968 version. I also have the recording he made with the French National Orchestra - dated 1977 on the HMV disc.

Hurwitz feels that all the Bernstein recordings are too "sober".  (Sorry, very embarassing senior moment, I got that wrong; it was some other work where Bernstein's recordings were to sober, I can't recall what it was at the moment.  Bernstein's Fantastique was actually one of his recommendations.)  I was a bit taken aback by that.  Also, that Davis is dull, a more familiar opinion.  I wonder what these French critics would make of Les Siècles.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/9dLB1M2DvlQ" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/9dLB1M2DvlQ</a>
« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 02:55:47 AM by Daverz »

Offline Biffo

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #178 on: August 03, 2020, 02:51:49 AM »
Hurwitz feels that all the Bernstein recordings are too "sober".  I was a bit taken aback by that.  Also, that Davis is dull, a more familiar opinion.  I wonder what these French critics would make of Les Siècles.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/9dLB1M2DvlQ" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/9dLB1M2DvlQ</a>

Not my opinion, doesn't surprise me Hurwitz finds him dull.

Offline Biffo

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Re: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
« Reply #179 on: August 03, 2020, 03:22:18 AM »
Not my opinion, doesn't surprise me Hurwitz finds him dull.

Edit: Les Siecles' recording is reviewed in Classica and Diapason (December 2019) though not by any of the critics who took part in the blind test. Both magazines give the recording five stars (or equivalent).