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  • Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique  (DECCA The Originals)
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Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (DECCA The Originals) Original recording remastered

Price: £6.17 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique  (DECCA The Originals) + Dvorák: Symphony No 9 'From The New World'.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 May 2006)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B000E6EH1S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,275 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 1. Rêveries. Passions (Largo - Allegro agitato ed appassionato assai)Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra15:16£1.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 2. Un bal (Valse: Allegro non troppo)Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra 6:13£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 3. Scène aux champs (Adagio)Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra17:05£2.29  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 4. Marche au supplice (Allegretto non troppo)Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra 6:47£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 5. Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat (Larghetto - Allegro - Ronde du Sabbat: Poco meno mosso)Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra 9:52£0.79  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Mikolay on 14 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD
As ridiculous as MacLeod's assertion may be, it speaks volumes about what this recording has always meant to me. Of the dozens of recordings I have of the major 'war-horses' per se (Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler symphonies, Rachmaninov concerti, Baroque sewing machine music), this is the ONLY one I'll ever want.

Recorded in 1974, the most readily apparent characteristic of this reading is its momentum. Davis doesn't allow the orchestra to rest for a moment, creating tension whenever and where ever necessary. So many performances of 'Fantastique' lack the simple inertia to keep this score alive and the Dutch respond to Davis magically. The first movement, difficult to convey because of the orchestration parrying between sparse and complex, is performed with such ease and color; I simply have not heard a better first movement anywhere.

The second movement waltz, 'At the Ball', is absolutely gorgeous, especially with the added cornet. Anytime I hear this waltz without the cornet part, I'm ready to call the guilty conductor and ask him why he left it out. It simply cannot go without. Again the Concertgebouw performs this movement with such life and joy it dances off the disc!

The third movement is simply amazing. The english horn solo at the beginning and end (the shepherd's pipe) of the movement is forlorn, impassioned, lonely, it is what typifies a benchmark reading for this piece. The Berlioz bass drum at the end is perfect for the coming storm. In general, the Concertgebouw bass drum for this recording is right on. The depth, the bass, the power, it's perfect and perfectly played.
One of the better moments of the CD, the March to the Scaffold, is strictly paced here but the orchestra accentuates throughout and conveys a truly sinister scene.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Yi-Peng VINE VOICE on 27 Dec. 2009
Format: Audio CD
There are so many recordings of the Berlioz Fantastique that the best ones help to emphasise its unique qualities. One of these superb recordings is this version by Sir Colin Davis and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Although some people might find it a little austere, Davis secures superb playing from the Concertgebouw Orchestra and keeps the momentum of the work going throughout its hour-long duration. This superb recording is now available in a superb 24-bit remastering that makes it sound fresher and more vivid than the previous CD releases.

This performance stands out because it maintains the steam throughout all the five movements, and Sir Colin Davis's tempi pushes the music along. After a rapturous reading of the opening Reveries section, he hurtles the Concertgebouw into the Passions, presenting the motto-theme of the symphony simply, yet sustaining the strands of the arguments. The Ball scene sounds suitably neurotic in his hands, and the Scene in the Country conveys a rapt sense of repose, with disturbing undercurrents towards the end. I know some people will complain about the over-austere character of the last two movements, but no, Sir Colin continues to sustain the momentum of the symphony. The March to the Scaffold may not be the most propulsive, but he certainly makes it sound grim, and conveys a suitably nightmarish and macabre effect. The finale, Dream of a Sabbath Night, is taken at a brisk clip and maintains the adreanaline to the end of the work, capping a scintillating performance of this groundbreaking symphony.

In short, I think this is a self-recommending performance of the Fantastique that probably faces up to the competition today. Yes I know that Sir Colin's 2000 LSO Live version presents some stiff competition, but this superb studio recording has its own merits and can hold its own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Sept. 2014
Format: Audio CD
This work was written in 1830, just three years after Beethoven’s death and, unsurprisingly, did not find general favour - Mendelssohn thought it ‘indifferent drivel’ while Rossini considered ‘what a good thing this isn’t music’. Looking back from almost two centuries, the revolutionary nature of the work is easy to dismiss through overfamiliarity.

Here, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, recorded in their magnificent concert hall, is conducted by Sir Colin Davis, 1927-2013. His recording, the first with the orchestra, was made in 1974 and shows Davis’s affinity for Berlioz’s music and manages to balance the Classical and Romantic elements of the music, the fiendish mixture of the tasteful, outlandish and bizarre. The conductor and orchestra are in complete accord and Davis’ judgement of tempi is consistent with a coherent shaping of the work rather than seeking to create an over-emotional interpretation. The symphony is conceived operatically with its individual movements being presented as very much more than individual tone poems. the conductor accepts Berlioz’s revolutionary approach of endowing every note to serve the demands of the plot.

Some listeners might criticise the performance as being too orthodox, although its emotional content, ranging through pastoral nostalgia, regret and terror, notably in the final movement, fully engages throughout. Personally, I empathise with the conductor’s decision to avoid excessive excitement and to rely on the score to speak for itself, as in the rustic middle movement.

The sound of the Philips CD, issues in its series, ‘The Originals’, fully matches the performance.
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