Sir Colin Davis, one of the best Berlioz specialists of today, proves himself worthy of this title by giving us firm, first-class and solid versions of the composer's output. This record of the Symphonie Fantastique is a prime example, in which Davis presents a performance that deserves to be praised enthusiastically and not reproached harshly. Through the whole performance, Davis injects the right amount of adreanaline, and the Concertgebouw orchestra responds well to his touch, even though he is a British conductor, and the Philips (now Decca) recording is first-class, with the right balance and atmosphere. From the opening Reveries of the work, one is totally spellbound by the music-making, and one can't help but be suspended on the edge of their seats. The entire first movement is given blood and thrust, and the hysteria that the imaginary artist experiences is well-brought out here, as well as the innocence of the idee fixe. The Ball sequence that follows is well-presented in the manner of true blue Viennese waltzes, and the music really sways like never before. However, the tense excitement comes to an abrupt halt as the Scene in the Country sets in, with a true dream-like quality brought about by the shimmering sounds of the orchestra. But in the last two sections, the March to the Scaffold and the Dream of a Sabbath Night, the blood races faster than ever before because of the sharp, menacing sounds, with a fierry and menacing March and a macabre Dream, replete with Dies irae. Overall, I can safely say that Davis really gives one of the world's best Fantastique records, and that this is the one to buy if you are looking for a first-class modern stereo performance.