Sir Colin Davis's 1974 account of theSymphonie fantastiquewith the Concertgebouw Orchestra has ranked among the best since the day it was made: refined, sensitive, and full of passionate reverie, it's a high-voltage performance that never seems overdriven. Avoiding the tendency of many conductors to treat the work in episodic terms, Davis presides over a reading that is sustained by a firm sense of structure and argument. He elicits fine playing from the Concertgebouw orchestra, whose combination of chamberlike delicacy in the strings, characterful work in the winds, and brilliant brass is virtually ideal. The recording is superb - textures emerge clearly in a spacious setting, with good perspective.
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Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op.14
1. Rêveries. Passions (Largo - Allegro agitato ed appassionato assai) 2. Un bal (Valse: Allegro non troppo) 3. Scène aux champs (Adagio) 4. Marche au supplice (Allegretto non troppo) 5. Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat (Larghetto - Allegro - Ronde du Sabbat: Poco meno mosso)
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“This is one of the most tantalising records ... I have had to review ... here at last is the version of the Symphonie fantastique we have all been waiting for from our (and the world's) principal Berlioz conductor.”