Magazine article Gramophone

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique, Op 14

Magazine article Gramophone

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique, Op 14

Article excerpt

Berlioz

Symphonie fantastique, Op 14. Lelio (a) (a) Mario Zeffiri ten (a) Ky le Ketelsen bass-bar (a) Gerard Depardieu narr Chicago Symphony (a) Chorus and Orchestra / Riccardo Muti CSO Resound (M) (2) CSOR9011501 (115' * DDD * T/t) Recorded live in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, Chicago, September 23-25 & 28, 2010

This concert recording of the 'Episode in the Life of an Artist' and its lesser-known sequel has repeats in the Symphonie fantastique and even the (here audibly) distancing scrim that Berlioz asked be placed in front of the orchestra for most of Lelio. The Symphonie itself, however--precisely drilled and realised by Muti at the start of his music directorship of the orchestra five years ago --lacks the sheer attack that his younger self brought, for example, to the bold orchestration of early Verdi.

The mellower Muti seems to want pure music, not the messier, dirtier programmatic colours of early Romantics. The 'Ball' and 'March to the Scaffold' lack atmosphere in their sheer straightness, although the wind dialogues in 'Scene in the Country' are expertly structured. Even those slippery basses in 'Night of the Sabbath' and the military band winds in the 'March' are heard primarily as sophisticated contributions from virtuoso orchestral sections. Their problems are solved, their novelty rather blunted in this smooth, efficient play-through at marginally more relaxed tempi than the Philadelphia Orchestra on Muti's earlier recording (Warner, 7/85). If your aural imagination hasn't been shaken and stirred by the historically informed work of Minkowski, Gardiner or Norrington into wanting a richer kaleidoscope of sound and tempi, you may well be satisfied by the level of performance here. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.