This symphony is indeed a peculiarity. I have listened to late romantic repertoire (and beyond) for some years now and this work got me stumped at first. The review above is somewhat objective and harsh. Making comparables and trying to pigeon-hole this large score serve only to confuse. My approach was to let the music speak for itself without any preconceptions of what this symphony should aim to be. This is not Bruckner or Strauss though elements of both are clearly present. There is beauty in abundance here. Searing melodic lines of stark originality. The dizzying, gut-wrenching alpine sequence is simply stupendous. Be patient with this music - it cannot be rushed.
This is one of Rene Leibowitz's most famous recordings, the re-orchestration and recording of Mussorgsky's Night on Bare Mountain. The maestro had reservations regarding several aspects the famous Rimsky-Korsakov version so made a special trip to Russia to study all the available manuscripts before creating his own rendition. Leibowitz completely eliminated the fanfares, as well as implementing many other orchestral and musical changes, including extended percussion and a wind machine. RL's version ends with a huge crescendo and is quite powerful. Highly recommended.
Quite simply, this series is a rite of passage for any knowing individual. With each episode, Crusoe's existential relationship with Nature unfolds. Crusoe's touching respect for Friday's untainted morality is one of the high points of the series. That a savage, equipped with reason and innocent eyes, can call into question some of the deepest beliefs of Western civilization. Terrific ! Watch and learn without hesitation !!!