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Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK)
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Gounod: Mireille
Gounod: Mireille
Price: £13.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, melodic and dramatic, 10 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gounod: Mireille (Audio CD)
I have already very favourably reviewed the older recording of this neglected opera conducted by Etcheverry; this is a more modern alternative which stars the lovely lirico-spinto soprano Mirella Freni as the only non francophone member of the cast. She sings in good French, if not with quite the ease of a native and of course her voice is a pleasure. She is terrific in her big, concluding, death-in-the-desert aria (prefiguring "Manon Lescaut").

Opposite her is the elegant singer Alain Vanzo, just a shade past his liquid past and slightly grainy of tone but still everything you want to hear in an authentic French tenor. The villain is a young José van Dam, another elegant singer with the smoothest, subtlest and supplest of baritones. His scene with the ferryman, when he laments his crime, is a dramatic highlight just as it is for Robert Massard in the older recording. The rest of the cast is all French, including well known names like Rhodes, Bacquier and Command, so there is no problem with the right idiom. Incidentally, the delightful Christine Barbaux, who sings Vincenette, inserts a high E flat into her duet with Mireille, which comes as something of a surprise.

Gallic lightness and delicacy matter in this opera which is stuffed full of lovely melodies and eschews the sentimentality which afflicts some passages in Gounod's two other better-known operas. I have never heard Plasson be anything other than totally apt in French opera and he had by the time of this recording already been ten years at the helm of the Toulouse orchestra where he remains still.

The analogue sound is good, warm, if very slightly cloudy as has previously been the case with recordings in the Halle-aux-Grains. Recommended to aficionados of slightly obscure French operas.


Wagner: Siegfried  (DG The Originals)
Wagner: Siegfried (DG The Originals)
Price: £28.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for a reassessment?, 10 July 2014
A recent online conversation here about the relative merits of "Ring" cycles caused me to revisit, at the prompting of one interlocutor, this "Siegfried", which I have always consigned to the lower ranks - and now I wonder why. Everywhere I look, I find quite scathing reviews of this third instalment of Karajan's tetralogy as obviously the weakest of the four recordings. Most acknowledge the beauty of Karajan's conducting and the playing of the BPO but at the expense of the vivid drama Solti conjures up in his cycle; indeed there are times when I could do with just a little more urgency but I am conditioned by long exposure to Solti and Leinsdorf, whose manner is much more urgent, and I must concede the glorious sweep of Karajan's vision. As you might expect, passages such as the "Forest Murmurs" are exquisitely shaded and the Prelude to Act III acutely conveys Wotan's psychological turmoil. However, the Forging Scene lacks somewhat of Solti's momentum and excitement.

Supposedly the weak link centres on his casting, with honourable exceptions made of Zoltán Kelemen's almost too beautifully sung Alberich and Oralia Dominguez's commanding, otherworldly Erda. He is a very good second to Solti's Neidlinger and she is unrivalled in her smallish role. Stolze repeats the manic, cackling Mime he gave Solti and I like it; it is highly entertaining even if he does yield too often to what is virtually Sprechstimme. Ridderbusch's mellow and sonorous bass depicts a graver, gentler, more thoughtful Fafner-Dragon sufficiently penitent in his death-throes to make us forget that he was a vicious fratricide - as if he might be saying, "The Ring made me do it"! True, Catherine Gayer's weedy, tremulous Woodbird is disappointment in comparison to Joan Sutherland's ecstatic trilling for Solti; how strange that Karajan should have undercast that tiny but important role.

Which brings us to the three main roles and the root of most objections. Thomas Stewart as the Wanderer is certainly more to my taste than the miscast and under-powered Fischer-Dieskau in "Das Rheingold"; he a has a big, virile, youthful voice which, while it lacks the world-weary gravitas and insight of Hans Hotter, also lacks the hollow woof and wobble and I simply enjoy his secure, intelligent vocalism. Jess Thomas has been the main butt of opprobrium, which surprised me even before I listened to this recording as I have always known him as a good Wagner and Strauss singer, of high musical intelligence, considerable security of line and unfailing beauty of tone.

Yet Alan Blyth, in "Opera on Record" damns him as "anything but heroic", one review in the discography of the online Wagner Review calls him "completely out of his depth" and various of my Amazon co-reviewers here have been quick to condemn him as "outsung by Mime" - which is frankly absurd. This is certainly a younger, more boyish Siegfried, less oafish than some and certainly more ingratiating of timbre than Windgassen's often rather elderly sounding hero and his declamatory "Notung" passages are certainly more than adequate, culminating in a splendid "So schneidet Siegfrieds Schwert!" His singing is touching and sensitive when he discovers Brünnhilde.

OK; the big test is that last half hour when the newly enamoured aunt and nephew sing exaltedly of their passion for each other. Karajan did not have Nilsson but he did have Helga Dernesch in her dramatic soprano stage. Both Dernesch and Thomas clearly find their roles a stretch - but who doesn't? Her distinctive timbre and shining top - I hear no "shriek", rather a "gleam" - carry her through the part, although her top B's and concluding C could be fuller; if you like her Isolde you will like her here. Karajan is considerate of his singers and they get away with it, if not with the fearless élan of, say, Remedies and Hunter, or Melchior and Traubel or Flagstad, but they are impassioned and tender in their exchange, greatly helped by Karajan's restraint.

So I find myself re-assessing this set, very much in its favour. Possibly the passage of time, the dearth of Wagner voices and encroaching senility have influenced this upward assessment but I do find myself deriving a great deal more pleasure from it than I expected.


Wagner: Siegfried
Wagner: Siegfried
Offered by Mentipas
Price: £59.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for a reassessment?, 10 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Wagner: Siegfried (Audio CD)
A recent online conversation here about the relative merits of "Ring" cycles caused me to revisit, at the prompting of one interlocutor, this "Siegfried", which I have always consigned to the lower ranks - and now I wonder why. Everywhere I look, I find quite scathing reviews of this third instalment of Karajan's tetralogy as obviously the weakest of the four recordings. Most acknowledge the beauty of Karajan's conducting and the playing of the BPO but at the expense of the vivid drama Solti conjures up in his cycle; indeed there are times when I could do with just a little more urgency but I am conditioned by long exposure to Solti and Leinsdorf, whose manner is much more urgent, and I must concede the glorious sweep of Karajan's vision. As you might expect, passages such as the "Forest Murmurs" are exquisitely shaded and the Prelude to Act III acutely conveys Wotan's psychological turmoil. However, the Forging Scene lacks somewhat of Solti's momentum and excitement.

Supposedly the weak link centres on his casting, with honourable exceptions made of Zoltán Kelemen's almost too beautifully sung Alberich and Oralia Dominguez's commanding, otherworldly Erda. He is a very good second to Solti's Neidlinger and she is unrivalled in her smallish role. Stolze repeats the manic, cackling Mime he gave Solti and I like it; it is highly entertaining even if he does yield too often to what is virtually Sprechstimme. Ridderbusch's mellow and sonorous bass depicts a graver, gentler, more thoughtful Fafner-Dragon sufficiently penitent in his death-throes to make us forget that he was a vicious fratricide - as if he might be saying, "The Ring made me do it"! True, Catherine Gayer's weedy, tremulous Woodbird is disappointment in comparison to Joan Sutherland's ecstatic trilling for Solti; how strange that Karajan should have undercast that tiny but important role.

Which brings us to the three main roles and the root of most objections. Thomas Stewart as the Wanderer is certainly more to my taste than the miscast and under-powered Fischer-Dieskau in "Das Rheingold"; he a has a big, virile, youthful voice which, while it lacks the world-weary gravitas and insight of Hans Hotter, also lacks the hollow woof and wobble and I simply enjoy his secure, intelligent vocalism. Jess Thomas has been the main butt of opprobrium, which surprised me even before I listened to this recording as I have always known him as a good Wagner and Strauss singer, of high musical intelligence, considerable security of line and unfailing beauty of tone.

Yet Alan Blyth, in "Opera on Record" damns him as "anything but heroic", one review in the discography of the online Wagner Review calls him "completely out of his depth" and various of my Amazon co-reviewers here have been quick to condemn him as "outsung by Mime" - which is frankly absurd. This is certainly a younger, more boyish Siegfried, less oafish than some and certainly more ingratiating of timbre than Windgassen's often rather elderly sounding hero and his declamatory "Notung" passages are certainly more than adequate, culminating in a splendid "So schneidet Siegfrieds Schwert!" His singing is touching and sensitive when he discovers Brünnhilde.

OK; the big test is that last half hour when the newly enamoured aunt and nephew sing exaltedly of their passion for each other. Karajan did not have Nilsson but he did have Helga Dernesch in her dramatic soprano stage. Both Dernesch and Thomas clearly find their roles a stretch - but who doesn't? Her distinctive timbre and shining top - I hear no "shriek", rather a "gleam" - carry her through the part, although her top B's and concluding C could be fuller; if you like her Isolde you will like her here. Karajan is considerate of his singers and they get away with it, if not with the fearless élan of, say, Remedies and Hunter, or Melchior and Traubel or Flagstad, but they are impassioned and tender in their exchange, greatly helped by Karajan's restraint.

So I find myself re-assessing this set, very much in its favour. Possibly the passage of time, the dearth of Wagner voices and encroaching senility have influenced this upward assessment but I do find myself deriving a great deal more pleasure from it than I expected.


Judas Maccabaeus
Judas Maccabaeus

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand, stately Handel, beautifully sung, 9 July 2014
This review is from: Judas Maccabaeus (Audio CD)
My preferred recording of this, one of the best of Handel's late oratorios, has hitherto always been the Mackerras version from the late 70's with the same bass and Janet Baker as opposed to Helen Watts, but both were great British singers and Shirley Quirk is most definitely preferable to the throaty Michael George for Robert King. Furthermore, all the singers here are superior to those in McGegan's recording, so it's back to the 70's for me when I want to listen to this splendid work.

Somary's ECO big band is a little leisurely compared with more recent practice but it is certainly not dull and his large-scale approach is matched by the amplitude of both soloists and chorus. Harold Lester's harpsichord accompaniment is spiky and lavishly ornamented; I like its prominence.

Alexander Young is accomplished if not without moments of strain but in that regard he is similar to Ryland Davies for Mackerras; My ideal in this music would be Anthony Rolfe Johnson but both tenors are mostly equal to the demands of their florid music.I miss the mixture of Felicity Palmer's tangy tones with Janet Baker's warmer sound but Heather Harper and Helen Watts give much pleasure in their duets. The very best comes right at the end with the serene aria "Father of Heaven" and the celebrated "See the conquering hero comes" but there is great music throughout with virtually no longueurs or duds.

What is more, this set is available for pennies in a near slimline pack on either Regis or Alto, as opposed to the original Vanguard packaging, in very acceptable, slightly soft-edged sound.


Handel: Judas Maccabeus
Handel: Judas Maccabeus

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand, stately Handel, beautifully sung, 9 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Handel: Judas Maccabeus (Audio CD)
My preferred recording of this, one of the best of Handel's late oratorios, has hitherto always been the Mackerras version from the late 70's with the same bass and Janet Baker as opposed to Helen Watts, but both were great British singers and Shirley Quirk is most definitely preferable to the throaty Michael George for Robert King. Furthermore, all the singers here are superior to those in McGegan's recording, so it's back to the 70's for me when I want to listen to this splendid work.

Somary's ECO big band is a little leisurely compared with more recent practice but it is certainly not dull and his large-scale approach is matched by the amplitude of both soloists and chorus. Harold Lester's harpsichord accompaniment is spiky and lavishly ornamented; I like its prominence.

Alexander Young is accomplished if not without moments of strain but in that regard he is similar to Ryland Davies for Mackerras; My ideal in this music would be Anthony Rolfe Johnson but both tenors are mostly equal to the demands of their florid music.I miss the mixture of Felicity Palmer's tangy tones with Janet Baker's warmer sound but Heather Harper and Helen Watts give much pleasure in their duets. The very best comes right at the end with the serene aria "Father of Heaven" and the celebrated "See the conquering hero comes" but there is great music throughout with virtually no longueurs or duds.

What is more, this set is available for pennies in a near slimline pack on either Regis or Alto, as opposed to the original Vanguard packaging, in very acceptable, slightly soft-edged sound.


Handel: Judas Maccabeus
Handel: Judas Maccabeus
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand, stately Handel, beautifully sung, 9 July 2014
This review is from: Handel: Judas Maccabeus (Audio CD)
My preferred recording of this, one of the best of Handel's late oratorios, has hitherto always been the Mackerras version from the late 70's with the same bass and Janet Baker as opposed to Helen Watts, but both were great British singers and Shirley Quirk is most definitely preferable to the throaty Michael George for Robert King. Furthermore, all the singers here are superior to those in McGegan's recording, so it's back to the 70's for me when I want to listen to this splendid work.

Somary's ECO big band is a little leisurely compared with more recent practice but it is certainly not dull and his large-scale approach is matched by the amplitude of both soloists and chorus. Harold Lester's harpsichord accompaniment is spiky and lavishly ornamented; I like its prominence.

Alexander Young is accomplished if not without moments of strain but in that regard he is similar to Ryland Davies for Mackerras; My ideal in this music would be Anthony Rolfe Johnson but both tenors are mostly equal to the demands of their florid music.I miss the mixture of Felicity Palmer's tangy tones with Janet Baker's warmer sound but Heather Harper and Helen Watts give much pleasure in their duets. The very best comes right at the end with the serene aria "Father of Heaven" and the celebrated "See the conquering hero comes" but there is great music throughout with virtually no longueurs or duds.

What is more, this set is available for pennies in a near slimline pack on either Regis or Alto, as opposed to the original Vanguard packaging, in very acceptable, slightly soft-edged sound.


Berlioz:Messe Solennelle
Berlioz:Messe Solennelle
Offered by UKMusicFiendz
Price: £12.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun and fascinating - but Berlioz knew what he was doing when he binned it, 9 July 2014
British conductors have been important in re-establishing Berlioz in the public's consciousness as a great composer and while I have not always been unstinting in my praise for the work of John Eliot Gardiner, I am happy to heap praise upon him for this, still the premier recording of this youthful work twenty years on. There have been a few others, including one in Washington Cathedral and two live recordings by Muti but the first was in fact on the 5th October 1993 in the Vézelay basilica, two days after Gardiner performed this for the first time since 1827 in St Petri, Bremen. Thus Philips is being a tad disingenuous marketing this as a "World Premiere Recording", as they were beaten to it by a week, but they are correct in marketing it as the first recording made under "studio" conditions, even if it was in fact made in Westminster Cathedral, which provides an ideal acoustic thanks to good engineering.

None of this much matters, I suppose; let's simply welcome the re-emergence of this fascinating music. No-one is a greater fan of Berlioz than I; his music has always struck a chord with me in a way that I know eludes some music-lovers, but I think previous reviewers have rather gone overboard in praising this as a "youthful masterpiece". Berlioz knew what he was doing when he jettisoned it and although I am glad to hear the piece it really is a bit disjointed despite its incidental beauties. It is in fact impossible for the seasoned Berlioz lover to listen this recording without tune-spotting and it is certainly true that Berlioz demonstrated excellent judgement in his selection of what to recycle in later, greater works. For example, the Credo is a lumbering affair, not helped by Cachemaille's rather laboured and effortful singing; he tends to growl in the lower regions and is straining in his declamatory passage in the Resurrexit, too. Jean-Luc Viala brings a mellifluous tenor to the long melody of the "Agnus Dei". Donna Brown sings prettily in the Incarnatus.

The score bears many of the hallmarks of Berlioz's highly idiosyncratic, literally unschooled style but his originality has not yet been disciplined or integrated into a sufficiently unified idiom to prevent the listener feeling rather lost and directionless, there are so many strange twists and abrupt departures within movements. Some effects are startling - sudden blasting chords or rhythmic volte-faces - some impressive - the trumpets in the Resurrexit - and some merely crude, bombastic or inappropriate, such as the jaunty melody there much more aptly reworked later in "Benvenuto Cellini". Yet there is certainly much exuberant music to enjoy which could have been written only by Berlioz.


Berlioz: Messe solennelle
Berlioz: Messe solennelle
Offered by dischiniccoli
Price: £23.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun and fascinating - but Berlioz knew what he was doing when he binned it, 9 July 2014
British conductors have been important in re-establishing Berlioz in the public's consciousness as a great composer and while I have not always been unstinting in my praise for the work of John Eliot Gardiner, I am happy to heap praise upon him for this, still the premier recording of this youthful work twenty years on. There have been a few others, including one in Washington Cathedral and two live recordings by Muti but the first was in fact on the 5th October 1993 in the Vézelay basilica, two days after Gardiner performed this for the first time since 1827 in St Petri, Bremen. Thus Philips is being a tad disingenuous marketing this as a "World Premiere Recording", as they were beaten to it by a week, but they are correct in marketing it as the first recording made under "studio" conditions, even if it was in fact made in Westminster Cathedral, which provides an ideal acoustic thanks to good engineering.

None of this much matters, I suppose; let's simply welcome the re-emergence of this fascinating music. No-one is a greater fan of Berlioz than I; his music has always struck a chord with me in a way that I know eludes some music-lovers, but I think previous reviewers have rather gone overboard in praising this as a "youthful masterpiece". Berlioz knew what he was doing when he jettisoned it and although I am glad to hear the piece it really is a bit disjointed despite its incidental beauties. It is in fact impossible for the seasoned Berlioz lover to listen this recording without tune-spotting and it is certainly true that Berlioz demonstrated excellent judgement in his selection of what to recycle in later, greater works. For example, the Credo is a lumbering affair, not helped by Cachemaille's rather laboured and effortful singing; he tends to growl in the lower regions and is straining in his declamatory passage in the Resurrexit, too. Jean-Luc Viala brings a mellifluous tenor to the long melody of the "Agnus Dei". Donna Brown sings prettily in the Incarnatus.

The score bears many of the hallmarks of Berlioz's highly idiosyncratic, literally unschooled style but his originality has not yet been disciplined or integrated into a sufficiently unified idiom to prevent the listener feeling rather lost and directionless, there are so many strange twists and abrupt departures within movements. Some effects are startling - sudden blasting chords or rhythmic volte-faces - some impressive - the trumpets in the Resurrexit - and some merely crude, bombastic or inappropriate, such as the jaunty melody there much more aptly reworked later in "Benvenuto Cellini". Yet there is certainly much exuberant music to enjoy which could have been written only by Berlioz.


Overtures: Benvenuto Cellini (Rpo)
Overtures: Benvenuto Cellini (Rpo)
Price: £8.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scots Wha Hae, 8 July 2014
There have been a good few British advocates of Berlioz's still neglected music - Beecham, Davis and Boult amongst the most prominent and influential - but Sir Alexander Gibson may also take his place in that list, starting not least with his superb vintage and classic recordings of "La mort de Cléopātre" and excerpts from "Les Troyens", both with Janet Baker. This Tring edition is a worthy companion, covering as it does some of Berlioz's lesser known overtures, played with virtuosic brilliance by the Royal Philharmonic in full, crystal-clear sound.

The Royal Philharmonic Collection in partnership with the Tring label was projected to run to a massive 150 recordings. As far as I know they never got beyond forty but that extant list contains some real gems at super bargain prices - and this is certainly one of them.

Driving recently I switched on the radio just after an overture had begun and I instantly recognised Berlioz's trademark touches without knowing the title, so by process of elimination I guessed "Les francs juges" and was right. I had an instant and subsequently lifelong love affair with Berlioz the first time I heard "Symphonie fantastique" (of course) but I never tire of his lunatic invention - he was completely off his rocker, I submit - and the weird colouring of his orchestration. His use of erratic unpredictable rhythms, syncopations and his emphatic deployment of punchy brass are unmistakable. I'm not sure this overture hangs together but it's fascinating, not least the middle passage where an eerie woodwind choral floats above plucked snatches of melody from the violas and double basses while the violins swoop in with snippets of the allegro opening theme - so odd, yet totally absorbing.

The overture to "Benvenuto Cellini", in my opinion Berlioz's greatest neglected work, is a riot of emotion, with satirically elephantine theme to represent the Pope and overweening clergy, a mellifluous love theme and all the chaotic excess of the Roman carnival and Cellini's own intense, dissolute life-style. "Le corsaire" is a triumph of swashbuckling élan, swirling strings and chattering woodwind. The last section where the Big Tune goes up a tone is a master-stroke. "Béatrice et Bénédict " a gorgeously witty, snappy erratic medley that mostly reflects the "merry war of wits" between the two reluctant lovers but takes time out to quote from the famously seductive and languorous "Nocturne".

Both "Waverley" and "King Lear" are more obscure as concert items; they are long pieces and seem more like tone poems. They suffer to some extent from the fragmented character of Berlioz's less coherent music and are perhaps less fecund in melody than the more popular overtures but they are nonetheless absorbing and given the best possible advocacy by Gibson and the RPO. As always in Berlioz, there is a long-breathed "dream of love", this time for the cellos, then an equally typical perky, martial air takes over - great stuff.

"King Lear" is the most sombre, subtle and reflective overture in this collection of six. In this case, the impression of fragmentation is to reflect the old king's tormented state of mind. A tender, haunting theme for the oboe, perhaps, as the notes suggest, figuring Cordelia, is interpolated between more agitated themes.

Gibson is a committed Berlioz expert who knows how to encompass the wide gamut of moods Berlioz embraces in his mercurial music; he can do the yearning line of the love music and whip up the erotic frenzy of living life on the edge, so much a part of Berlioz's own life and amply reflected in his composition.

In his otherwise chirpy and informative notes, Brendan Beales is mistaken when he writes of the pompous Cardinal theme, as there is no cardinal in the opera but rather Pope Clement VII, who has commissioned the "Perseus". He also amusingly quotes Berlioz's description of reading "King Lear" for the first time: "I thought I would burst from enthusiasm; I rolled around (in the grass, honestly), I rolled convulsively to appease my utter rapture". Your reaction to this disc might be tempered from that but it illustrates the kind of tempestuous passion that inspired Berlioz - and Gibson really permits you to hear it in this music; this disc is a steal.


Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique
Offered by sellerfellauk
Price: £12.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Berlioz - perhaps the best recording of this symphony, 8 July 2014
This review is from: Symphonie Fantastique (Audio CD)
This is a famous recording. Munch takes all sorts of liberties with tempi, yet no-one - Bernstein included - has managed to give this extraordinary musical unity without sacrificing excitement. Given that it represents one of the most frenetic, febrile expressions of hallucinogenic, drug-induced hyper-sensitivity that the Romantic Movement affords, it would seem prosaic in the extreme to demur at Munch's agogic freedom, especially when he conjures such ravishing sounds from the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He gives this pulsating music an entirely absorbing sense of purpose, yet nothing seems calculated; even the most extreme rubato or accelerando serves the underlying architectural conception.

The vividness of the sound also reveals that of accelerating vehicles in the background and every creak of the floor. While the 1954 version made with the same forces on stereo reel-to-reel tape is in some ways even more daring and propulsive, on balance this 1962 stereo re-make is marginally preferable both in terms of sound and interpretation, although I would not go to the stake defending either against the other.

The opening of the first movement is weighty, soulful and impassioned before launching into the yearning, headlong passion over Berlioz's own "Immortal Beloved". Here, more than anywhere else, Munch plays fast and loose with the beat but it works. In the second movement, "Un bal", the waltz time is a little more measured than in the 1954 recording but if anything even more charged with erotic intensity. The "Scène au champs" avoids the longueurs which lesser conductors engender, and the exquisite tuning of the Boston strings makes magic as that glorious bucolic theme, so reminiscent of Beethoven's "Pastoral", blooms expansively. In contrast to the freedom he employs elsewhere, Munch at first holds the "Marche au supplice" to a very steady beat, before gradually ratcheting up the tempo and tension and building ominously to a superb decapitation. The "Songe d'une nuit de sabbat" again pulses steadily and inexorably before the chimes usher in the weird, pounding tread of the Dies Irae and the syncopated frenzy of the demonic dance. This is one of the great Berlioz recordings, beyond doubt.


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