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Berlioz;Hector Sym Fantastique [Import]

DVD

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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • Release Date: March 29 2011
  • ASIN: B004KDO2M0

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best BluRay recording I have ever heard! Feb. 5 2010
By David Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
Recently I purchased the Berlioz Symphony Fantastique on BluRay, which I believe is the best sounding recording I have ever heard! I was excited to find out that the recording was in discreet 7.1 Dolby TrueHD as it did not show this on the cover. This recording is the first that gave me a true wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling sound experience I am always trying to achieve. The low frequencies are truly amazing! I hope that all future recordings from the Keeping Score series offer the 7.1 option. On this particular BluRay you will need to manually select the 7.1 option in the setup menu. Just get it, you won't be disappointed!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars and a rosette--best Blu ray classical disc ? Aug. 31 2010
By Chhan Thuan Kiat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Those of you classical music buffs who read the Penguin Gramophone Record and CD reviews for bedtime will know that only very special discs are ever awarded the coveted rosette. Why do I think this disc is so special ?
Well, for starters Michael T Thomas, the conductor, comes up with an educational yet very entertaining introduction and analysis of Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique", an inspired musical dream, if ever there was one. In an informal, partly serious, partly gossipy style, MTT narrates the the passion of Berlioz for Harriet Smithson, his muse and idee fixe for this melodramatic symphony, accompanied by high definition video of Paris and the French countryside. The analysis is not profound musicology, but just enough to enhance one's understanding and appreciation of the structure of the piece, and the character of this Byronic megalomaniac.
Secondly, this disc sets the present and future standards for video work for orchestral recordings, thanks indeed to state of the art camera technology and the great coordination between the score reader and the camera team. The video is spot on the various sections of the large orchestra as the complex symphony unfolds and it's as if one were reading the score, pictorially. This disc fulfills the the raison d'etre of classical music on video most elegantly, and that is that one should "see the music"
Last and most importantly, we are treated to a complete concert performance of the Symphony by the San Francisco Symphonic Orchestra, enthusiastically conducted by Thomas, in an audio recording to take one's breath away. In either Dolby TruHD 5.1 or Tru HD 7.1 format, the recorded sound is truly stupendous! The sound stage is full in height and breadth within which musical instruments or sections are boldly 'imaged'. In the 1st movement (Reverie), listen to the the leitmotiv with the high flutes and woodwinds underpinned by the growling cellos and basses. Some conductors emphasize the mysterious aspect of this passage, Thomas emphasizes the delirious ! The "Ball" is played wonderfully in a lilting, rhythmic fashion, with shimmering strings augmented to great effect by the two harps. The "Scene in the Field" opens with a delicious back and forth by the cor anglais, echoed by an oboe off stage, and the Alpine horn melody is then passed on to flute and then to the horns all the time counterpointed by the lower strings. Beautiful.I feel this is the best movement, quiet , pastoral and tender. MTT gives us one of the most exciting "March to the Scaffold" and the sound is really spectacular, especially the drum rolls. But the sonic pyrotechnics are at their peak in the last movement "Witches Sabbath". Audiophiles should have their hearts' delight with the fabulously recorded bass strings, screeching bassoons and flutes; the passage with the bells and the sonorous tuba is worth noting, but above all the drums. Tight,full and deep the drums give a visceral punch and on a system with a good subwoofer you can almost feel the air move. This has to be the best recorded classical music disc, period.
One may argue here and there over points of interpretation, but overall MTT gives a most satisfactory account and this rave review is in no small measure influenced by the fantastic audio and standard setting video/camera work. Friends this is a very special disc.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Archetypical Romantic Composer Dec 27 2009
By Zarathustra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The 26 year old Hector Berlioz burst upon the Paris music scene from the provinces in 1830, two years after the death of Beethoven and three years after Schubert's death, with Symphonie Fantastique, which is a unique dramatization of his own emotions and obsessions.
Michael Tilson Thomas describes the dreams and fantasies of the young Berlioz, who contrived impossible romantic attachments with both fictional characters and real women that he knew. At age 12 he fell hopelessly in love with an 18 year old woman who scorned him. Later it was Irish Shakespearean actress Harriet Smithson who became his impossible love.
Symphonie Fantastique is the portrayal of Berlioz writ large as the suffering hero. It is one of the earliest program symphonies. The movement titles summarize the program 1. Reveries, Passions 2. Un Bal 3. Scene Aux Champs 4. Marche Aux Supplice 5. Songue D'Une Nuit Du Sabbat.
The commentary by Thomas is supplemented by brief comments from members of the orchestra and illustrated by passages from the work, followed by a full performance by the San Francisco Symphony.
This is one symphony you will not forget.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent entry in the series Nov. 6 2010
By Uluru II - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
I mostly just want to say that MTT's exploration of Symphonie Fantastique is yet another excellent addition to this series. There have been some good composer documentaries over the years, and some good conductor/orchestra-centered films as well, but here you get it all in one, and I don't believe any other series has really done this. In addition to a broad but insightful sketch of Berlioz's life, we learn many of the specifics of the history of Symphonie Fantastique. Through it all, MTT relates how these things inform his decisions as a conductor, and we hear from individuals in the San Francisco Symphony as well. Many films of this nature, especially those that make an effort to not exclude children, end up oversimplifying or cheapening something that is really quite profound - great classical music. This series strikes a good balance between offering infotainment that kids will sit through, but still giving the music its due serious consideration.

I know one person in particular who wanted to enjoy classical music, but could never quite connect with it. He needed a "gateway," as he explained it, something that would explain the important aspects to him - the thinking behind the music. I showed him one of this series (the Tchaikovsky episode) and he was very excited; this is exactly what he was looking for. He didn't become an instant classical music nut but he continues to explore and enjoy this music, which he might not have without Keeping Score.

My only complaint is that the initial Tchaikovsky's 4th episode, which I believe served as the "pilot," went further into the actual nuts and bolts operation of the orchestra. We saw the oboe player working with MTT on the famous second movement solo; we saw the concertmaster helping MTT decide on which bowings would best serve his interpretation; a timpanist explained all the preparation he goes through, selecting the appropriate skins and stretching them, choosing the most apt mallets; we even saw how this is all transferred to the individual parts, by the librarians and copyists in the basement. While there are still snippets of this sort of thing in the later Keeping Score episodes, it seems they've decided to largely excise that aspect of things. Too bad, because I found it just as fascinating as the rest.

Finally, the performance of the work is a treat. It looks and sounds amazing on Blu-ray. To be honest, while I have great admiration for MTT, especially his educational outreach which is unparalleled by any living conductor, his recordings are not usually my favorite for a given work. But his performances are never less than solid, and this one is no exception. It may not rank among the best ever recordings of this work but it's a more than adequate conclusion to the documentary portion, and as I said a real treat for the senses.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to symphonic music. July 29 2011
By Ultrarunner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The Symphonie Fantastique was written to attract the attention of Irish woman, actress Harriet Smithson. He saw her in 1827 in a performance of Hamlet.He married Harriet in 1833. This symphony was first performed in the Conservatory,Paris in 1830. The work has a programme. 1. Dreams, Passions. 2. The ball and so on. Michael Tilson Thomas with the San Francisco Symphony bring alive this work. Thomas explains Berlioz's life and what the symphony means in the extra documentary. You have individual musicians explaining their part in the work. This series includes Shostakovich,5th Symphony. Beethoven's 3rd, Stravinsky-Rite of Spring,Copland and Ives and Tchaikovsky. Excellent for those knowing nothing about classical music. Also, useful for schools and Universities teaching music.For more information about Berlioz, get hold of I, Berlioz, a Tony Palmer film. The Memoirs of Berlioz, ed David Cairns. This Bluray can be played in Australia. The others,unfortunately not. I wish various companies that produce DVDs and Blurays, realize that this region business is silly and make them all worldwide as opus arte and Euroarts does.

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