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Harold Italy Damnation Faust Tro (Ormandy)

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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£2.82 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 1 left in stock. Sold by best_value_entertainment and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 Dec. 1993)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classics
  • ASIN: B000025H7J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 341,590 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Harold in Italy, Op. 16; La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24 (excerpts); Les Troyens (excerpts).

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By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 14 July 2014
I have half a dozen recordings of this piece, one of the most typical of Berlioz's eclectic, mercurial style. There is a wonderful recording by the principal violist of the Berlin Philharmonic Heinz Kirchner playing in immaculate, Romantic style under Markevitch's expert direction, but the mono sound from 1955 is slightly constricted and papery, so I am concentrating on three famous versions: Munch and Primrose, Ormandy and de Pasquale and Inbal and Bashmet.

It is difficult to say whether "Harold in Italy" is a concerto or a symphony; it starts as one and finishes as the other, with the solo viola sidelined and merely commenting and reminiscing in the last movement, reprising preceding themes. Of course, the Byron myth appealed immensely to Berlioz; he conflates it with a typically highly romanticised account of his own life journey as a picaresque tale full of heroism, adventure, romance and melancholy. (Incidentally, the writer of the notes to the Ormandy disc is wrong in ascribing Byron's death to combat in Greece; he died of a fever and probably sepsis, not in battle.)

Let me say immediately that I like all three and all have obvious merits. Even the most recent, digital version (Inbal) is from 1988, whereas the Munch is from 1958 and the Ormandy from 1965. Nonetheless, they are all three in fine sound; the slight hiss on the earlier two is negligible. It seems strange to think that nearly all the musicians featured in those Munch and Ormandy recordings will now be playing harps, yet - and here I might as well put my cards on the table - the earliest from 65 years ago remains my favourite and the clarity of the stereo separation remains startling.
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