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Symphonie Fantastique

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Composer: Berlioz
  • Audio CD (Jan. 1 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • ASIN: B00005RT4L
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #269,624 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Largo - Allegro Agitato E Appassionato Assai
2. Valse - Allegro Non Troppo
3. Adagio
4. Allegretto Non Troppo
5. Larghetto - Allegro - Dies Irae - Ronde Du Sabbat - (Un Peu Retenu, Dies Irae Et Ronde Du Sabbat Ensemble)

Product Description

Orchestre symphonique de San Diego - Yoav Talmi, direction

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In the history of recording, there have been literally dozens and dozens of recordings of Hector Berlioz's monstrous masterpiece "Symphonie Fantastique", a work that is arguably the first musical masterpiece of terror. Given such a crowded field, what can another recording offer today?
Judging by the performance given here on Naxos by Yoav Talmi and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, plenty! With the recording quality as high as it is, and the recording itself very well priced, this version of Berlioz's nightmarish masterpiece has much to show, including the piece de resistance, the "Witches Sabbath" in the fifth movement, with the use of the ancient chant "Dies Irae" ringing out in the trombones (a chant that would find its way into the music of such chilling movies as A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, THE SHINING, and POLTERGEIST).
For me, there have been only two recordings of this much-covered masterpiece that have really captured Berlioz's disturbing visions: the 1959 recording by the Detroit Symphony under Paul Paray (on Mercury Living Presence); and Sir Colin Davis' explosive 1974 recording with the Concertgebouw Orchestra (on Philips). But this one by the SDSO and Talmi is very much up there in such lofty company. And given this orchestra/conductor combination's other Berlioz recordings in recent years, one cannot go wrong with this one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa08d2954) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe7d864) out of 5 stars Musical Masterpiece Of Terror March 29 2003
By Erik North - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In the history of recording, there have been literally dozens and dozens of recordings of Hector Berlioz's monstrous masterpiece "Symphonie Fantastique", a work that is arguably the first musical masterpiece of terror. Given such a crowded field, what can another recording offer today?

Judging by the performance given here on Naxos by Yoav Talmi and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, plenty! With the recording quality as high as it is, and the recording itself very well priced, this version of Berlioz's nightmarish masterpiece has much to show, including the piece de resistance, the "Witches Sabbath" in the fifth movement, with the use of the ancient chant "Dies Irae" ringing out in the trombones (a chant that would find its way into the music of such chilling movies as A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, THE SHINING, and POLTERGEIST).

For me, there have been only two recordings of this much-covered masterpiece that have really captured Berlioz's disturbing visions: the 1959 recording by the Detroit Symphony under Paul Paray (on Mercury Living Presence); and Sir Colin Davis' explosive 1974 recording with the Concertgebouw Orchestra (on Philips). But this one by the SDSO and Talmi is very much up there in such lofty company. And given this orchestra/conductor combination's other Berlioz recordings in recent years, one cannot go wrong with this one.
HASH(0xa008c408) out of 5 stars Not my first choice in this work, but the buyer could hardly go too wrong, either Aug. 20 2015
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A little over a decade ago while the rest of the classical recording industry was in decline, Naxos persisted in releasing a multitude of new discs every month. This 2002 release of the Symphonie fantastique with Yoav Talmi and the San Diego Symphony is a good example of why they were able to do this when everyone around them seemed to be falling apart. The orchestra is not world renowned, but it is quite capable. The conductor is not world renowned, but he is quite competent. The sound is not earthshaking, but it is better than many of the albums the bigger studios were producing at the time. And lest we forget, the price of Naxos discs has always been more than right.

French composer Hector Berlioz (1802-1869) wrote his semi-autobiographical Symphonie fantastique in 1830 with a much-augmented ensemble for the day and in orchestral tones only hinted at by previous composers. It took audiences by surprise back then and has been delighting folks ever since. Of course, after hearing so many different conductors and orchestras performing it over the years, it's hard truly to surprise most ears anymore. Talmi is no exception. His interpretation seems to me capable but not a little perfunctory. He carries out the waltz in "Un Bal," for example, with a nice lilt, but the "Marche to the Scaffold" appears too deadpan and the "Witch's Sabbath" not nearly as menacing as it could be.

For comparison purposes, I listened again to Sir Thomas Beecham's account (EMI), Leonard Bernstein's (Hi-Q), Sir Colin Davis's (Pentatone, or any of the three he did and the second one with the Concertgebouw in particular), and John Eliot Gardiner (Philips, with period instruments). Under these better-known conductors this old warhorse offers a lot more color and excitement than Talmi brings to it. What's more, you'll also find that the orchestras involved in the comparisons produce a bigger, richer, more well-balanced sound than the San Diego group do.

On the other hand, Talmi's performance is more than adequate for anyone who has never heard the work before and is looking for a good, fairly inexpensive digital starting place.

The sound Naxos engineers provide is close to first-rate. I say "close" because I found that it too often highlights too many instruments. It begins to sound artificial as first one and then another section of the orchestra comes to the forefront in volume. Other than that, the sound is clean and dynamic, with especially good, solid bass. Audiophiles sometimes use the Symphonie fantastique as demo material, especially the last two movements, and almost anyone would understand why after listening to this recording. Even though the miking is a little close and compartmentalized, the sound makes a good impact.

This would not be my first choice in this work, but the buyer could hardly go too wrong with it, either.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f447d20) out of 5 stars This would not be my first choice. June 30 2006
By Edward J. Lada - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I only bought this recording because I was preparing for an audition with the San Diego Symphony and wanted to get some idea of their sound ahead of time. Artistically, the interpretation is fairly good. However, there were noticeable intonation problems in isolated places. Also, as a brass player I was slightly disappointed with the - how to put it - lack of horsepower from the brass. For a better recording either look for the Cleveland recording with Pierre Boulez or the Montreal recording with Dutoit, depending on whether you prefer the lighter, more brilliant sound of Cleveland or the dark, powerful sound from Montreal. Both are fabulous recordings.


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