Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hector Berlioz. (1803-1869) Symphonie Fantastique. & Le Carnaval Romain.

From my collection.
Bought in 2015.
First listen: 11-12-2015.
Second listen: 28-11-2016.
Label: Zig-Zag territoires.
CD 1 from 5.
Recording dates: May 2008.
Recording venue: Concert Hall Brugge, Belgium.
Recording engineer: Andreas Neubronner.
Running time: 69:00.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Take a deep breath, for if you ever thought you knew this "Symphonie Fantastique" you are going to get in a state of shock, to hear, how Berlioz really intended the work to sound. And that included no "Bells"in the last movement, but rather two Erard piano's with all dampers removed. A excellent essay in detail explains how and why, and I strongly suggest you read this. Immerseel his orchestra is certainly big enough for the task, and he is also eminently up to the job himself, for what he brings in the forefront is an orchestra that is not out for cheap effects, which you could manage quite easily, for Berlioz gave enough opportunities, but rather to let you hear the myriad of details that otherwise eludes us just because all the added romantic dynamics overblow much of the finer details. He keeps the tempi at quite a slow rate, and he strips the work of all the romantic nonsense in orchestration, and so manages to create  for me a work perfect in execution, and delivering a composition that has you in fetters at every note. Sure if you have your favourites amongst the multitude performances gracing our shores, it's hard to come down this adrenaline trip, and confront a approach that has nothing in common with what is already recorded, but once your ears are attuned to this performance you will not be able to suppress at least your admiration for what Immerseel did on authentic instruments. And in my case, this one is at once No. 1 in my estimation, without throwing away my previous recordings of it. I really think it is a necessary interpretation to have.

The sound is glorious, underpinning the superb brass of this orchestra, and the fine pppp playing of the Violins. A virtual success.  The only down point of this recording are the slow tempi, that robs certain parts of all the excitement. Yes, in my view it's all too slow. But still essential to have.

My playlist for 25-4-2018.

If by any chance you might be interested in my thoughts or feelings about the recordings of today, please let me know, and I will provide ad...