In the interview with Roger Norrington included in the booklet to this CD, Norrington states that he and the London Classical Players were, after working hard on their Beethoven cycle, 'in good form' when they recorded this Berlioz disc. My word, was he right! This is a scorcher of a disc, the one that finally converted me into a Berlioz fan. (I had two other recordings of the 'Symphonie fantastique', the ones by Herbert von Karajan for Deutsche Grammophon and by Riccardo Muti for EMI. The Karajan was too much centered on the musicians rather than the music, and the analogue to digital re-mastering left a lot to be desired with plenty of tape noise; the Muti was better, but sounded somehow 'routine'.) Norrington here sweeps away all the trappings of 160 years of interpretation history and goes right back to the roots: he respects Berlioz' markings (and his attitude) with regard to tempo, instrumentation and orchestration, using exactly the instruments in exactly the seating-order and number that Berlioz would have used in Paris around 1830. As the musicians are obviously enjoying every moment of this, and as the recorded sound (from London's Abbey Road studios) is breathtakingly excellent, the result is unbelievably good, like sitting in a concert hall and listening to this music for the very first time! I cannot recommend this disc too highly. As an 'encore' you get the Overture to Berlioz' aborted opera 'Les francs-juges', and here too you can hear why Berlioz' art of orchestration has always been the object of highest praise.