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Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique


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Product details

  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Hector Berlioz
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GCI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,885 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

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

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 1. Rêveries. Passions (Largo - Allegro agitato ed appassionato assai)Berliner Philharmoniker14:12£1.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 2. Un bal (Valse: Allegro non troppo)Berliner Philharmoniker 6:07£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 3. Scène aux champs (Adagio)Berliner Philharmoniker16:37£2.29  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 - 4. Marche au supplice (Allegretto non troppo)Berliner Philharmoniker 4:39£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)Berliner Philharmoniker10:27£1.49  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust, Op.24 / Part 2 - Ballet des SylphesBerliner Philharmoniker 2:24£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust, Op.24 / Part 3 - Menuet des FolletsBerliner Philharmoniker 6:07£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon on 11 Oct. 2014
Format: Audio CD
I am mystified by claims that Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic lost their mojo when they crossed over to the west bank of the Rhine. Their recordings of Ravel, Debussy and Bizet suggest otherwise.

Even so, this December 1964 has generated disquiet since it was released and truth to tell, the reasons are none too clear. Yes, Karajan does not observe the repeat in the first movement but that's not irksome. Unlike the 1975 remake - the Festival of Torque - both Karajan and the Berliners play with delicacy, sensitivity and finesse: come the great moment of transfiguration in the Scène aux champs - 13'23' - one attains escape-velocity from the material world. Rêveries - Passions is also played with immense artistry. The acoustics of the Jesus Christus Church - the airless Philharmonie was used in 1975 - add lustre to the performance.

If there is a deepset weakness here, I suspect it's because the partnership approach this work as just another symphony in the canon; they do not give full vent to its grotesquery. Well played though it be, one never forgets for a second that the Witches Sabbath is being played in studio-like conditions rather than out on the heath with Macbeth's threesome. Additionally, one never senses any desperation in the performance such as Berlioz himself felt for Harriet Smithson and what might befall their relationship. Erotically, this performance's pilot-light is on and that's about it.

In short, if you are looking for a first rate performance of this orchestral work, you can purchase this disc with confidence. But it's not quite the Symphonie Fantastique that was penned by a young man in thrall to Aphrodite and her madness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr Swallow on 22 Dec. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This performance copped a bit of criticism from certain carping critics when it first appeared but it is hard to see why. Around this time Karajan was at his peak as a conductor and them playing of the BPO is excellent. This is a pretty straight forward performance and remains a clear choice - if one of many clear choices in a crowded field.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Take a look at the whole picture 1 Jan. 2005
By Musician2005 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent performance of an overplayed Symphony. Despite some sluggish moments, the playing is overall as to be expected from Karajan and the BPO. I've heard Munch, Beecham, and Clutyens recordings of this piece of music, and to my ears, this one is up there with them, for sheer clarity and good sounding execution. Some might complain it isn't "the best" out there, and there indeed might be better versions, but try to find an orchestra and conductor that play like this today and you will face a near impossible task. The witches sabbath and 3rd movement are my favorites, and the added selections from the Damnation of Faust are played well, as well. A very nice intro to this piece, and a recording of interest for Karajan and Berlioz fans.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Not Karajan's Best-try 1976 DG 20 Oct. 2004
By musicdoc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording was made in the 1960's. Karajan re-recorded it in 1976 (available as part of a DG "Panorama" of Berlioz favorites). That is the performance to own. The execution is better, the sound has greater dynamic range, and the interpetation is more macabre. Although he doesn't take the 1st movement repeat, and doesn't use the optional coronet parts in the 2nd movement, I like the 1976 as much as the C. Davis version from about the same time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Rêveries - Passions and Microphones 17 Dec. 2011
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am mystified by claims that Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic lost their mojo when they crossed over to the west bank of the Rhine. Their recordings of Ravel, Debussy and Bizet suggest otherwise.

Even so, this December 1964 has generated disquiet since it was released and truth to tell, the reasons are none too clear. Yes, Karajan does not observe the repeat in the first movement but that's not irksome. Unlike the 1975 remake - the Festival of Torque - both Karajan and the Berliners play with delicacy, sensitivity and finesse: come the great moment of transfiguration in the Scène aux champs - 13'23' - one attains escape-velocity from the material world. Rêveries - Passions is also played with immense artistry. The acoustics of the Jesus Christus Church - the airless Philharmonie was used in 1975 - add lustre to the performance.

If there is a deepset weakness here, I suspect it's because the partnership approach this work as just another symphony in the canon; they do not give full vent to its grotesquery. Well played though it be, one never forgets for a second that the Witches Sabbath is being played in studio-like conditions rather than out on the heath with Macbeth's threesome. Additionally, one never senses any desperation in the performance such as Berlioz himself felt for Harriet Smithson and what might befall their relationship. Erotically, this performance's pilot-light is on and that's about it.

In short, if you are looking for a first rate performance of this orchestral work, you can purchase this disc with confidence. But it's not quite the Symphonie Fantastique that was penned by a young man in thrall to Aphrodite and her madness.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
rather subdued version 2 July 2013
By Thomas L. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The C. Davis recording is celebrated and justly so. The Beecham recording has some sonic problems but has an excellent first movement. Karajan is a slight bit too laid back, but the performance is excellently played
7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Not one of Karajan's high points 24 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Few conductors are actually fully comfortable in all areas of the classical repertoire and Karajan despite his prolific recording career is no exception. The sound of the orchestra is essentially the same as in all Karajan/Berlin recordings of German repertoire. What Karajan fails to realize is that Berlioz requires a completely different approach, not least because of his unique orchestration and its demands on orchestral color, phrasing and ensemble playing. The BPO have proven themselves more than capable of mesmerizing performances of French repertoire under other conductors. But this recording is disappointing not only because of Karajan's failure to connect with the score, but also because of an unusual (for the BPO) amount of imprecise and messy ensemble playing and bad balancing.
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