|This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.|
This month's Vinyl's Revenge is not necessarily a truly great recording, but it stands out in my mind because it was the first recording I ever owned of thus seminal work.
Trout, in one of his many surveys of repertoire recordings, looked at Symphonie Fantastique and many of his stand-outs were from the great French conductors: Munch, Paray and I would add to that Igor Markevitch, as well as some "Berlioz specialists" like Sir Colin Davis and Sir Thomas Beecham. I would have added to that list Dutoit's mid-1980's release with the Montreal Symphony, but thee are so many recordings of the work to choose from...
In his interpretation of this well-traveled masterpiece, Lorin Maazel doesn't add anything new, but what he says is surgically precise, economical and somewhat clinical (read: aseptic and some would say, cold). In other words, pure Maazel - though not the way most of us would expect the work to be interpreted: with French flair and some abandon.
The work itself doesn't need introduction, as its back-story, and programme, have been well documented. What we have here is a straight-forward, honest and for Maazel not too pretentious. Considering that the Cleveland Orchestra isn't a French repertoire orchestra per se, it is quite enjoyable!
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Symphonie fantastique, épisodes d'une vie d'artiste en 5 parties, op. 14 [H 48]
Lorin Maazel, conducting
CBS Masterworks – M 35867
Internet Archive URL - https://archive.org/details/BERLIOZSymphonieFantastiqueOp.