Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique/Roméo Et Juliette
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It was simply a matter of time before Munch's feverish, go-for-broke 1954 recording of the Symphonie fantastique showed up on RCA's Living Stereo reissue series. The stereo that lives on this disc is primitive to be sure, with noticeable tape hiss and some weird resonances from the timpani, but for character, panache, and sheer abandon the interpretation is hard to beat. The filler, 13 beautiful minutes from Romeo et Juliette, was recorded in 1961 and shows the BSO with a good deal more polish, still glowingly expressive. --Ted Libbey
Top Customer Reviews
Many of these recordings were not even released in stereo at first, having to wait until this CD series was created in the mid-90's. I think this one was, though, first on stereo reel-to-reel tape and then on LP. I do recommend that anyone interested in this great performance snap up the CD while it is still available. As many know, BMG has a much lower commitment to the classics than they used to and are axing many titles as they sell out. And the great John Pfieffer and Richard Mohr are no longer around to protest.
No wonder in 1962, when he decided to rerecord this symphony, he made sure that those drums are there to be HEARD, and how vivid they can be heard in this later preformance which to my mind is superior in details and atmosphere as well...terrorizing in the last movement indeed.
So avoid the 1955 disc and go for the 1962 rendition, which I understand is not yet available on the Living Stereo series yet.
Most recent customer reviews
I've heard almost all of the versions of Symphonie Fantastique, and this one was probably the worst. Read morePublished on Oct. 3 2001 by Christopher Losee
Munch seems to be the ultimate Berlioz interepreter. I have heared 3 of his Symphonie's ( the one performed in Portugal from a live performance) and all of them are excellent. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2001 by Ytzan