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Thread: Favorite Symphonie fantastique

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    Default Favorite Symphonie fantastique

    Hello, new here and just started with classical music.

    What is the best Symphony fantastique that I can get, interpretation and soundwise?

    Cheers eh

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    Senior Member Headphone Hermit's Avatar
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    Hi Erho

    you will find the responses will largely be split between the North American recommendations (Charles Dutoit with Montreal on Decca or Monteaux with the Vienna Phil on RCA) and the European recommendations (Colin Davis with ConcertgebouwOrchestra on Philips or Colin Davis with LSO on LSO live and John Eliot Gardiner with Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romatique on Philips - the latter is my choice if you want a HiP version)

    I'd go for Davis myself but I know others will disagree - scroll down the page to 'similar threads' and look at the 'Recordings of Symphonie fantastique' thread by Aramis
    "Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils." Berlioz, 1856

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    Thanks, sorry but what means HiP version?

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    Senior Member shadowdancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erho View Post
    Thanks, sorry but what means HiP version?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...ed_performance
    "Without music, life would be a mistake." Friedrich Nietzsche
    一期一会

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    Senior Member realdealblues's Avatar
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    I have about 20 recordings of Symphonie Fantastique.

    My favorite recording is from Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

    Charles Munch recorded Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique twice with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, once in 1954 and again in 1962. The later 1962 recording is my personal favorite. You can usually find it used for around $2-$5 because it's out of print.

    The cover looks like this:
    Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique - Munch 1960.jpg


    The earlier recording is from the "Living Stereo" series and is also extremely popular and can easily be purchased new in a store if you're looking for something you can easily find instead of something second hand that would be another great option.
    Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique - Munch 1954.jpg

    It's a hybrid SACD so it will play on regular CD players as well as normal CD players and usually runs about $10.

    My other favorite recording is from Leonard Bernstein. Leonard Bernstein also recorded the work twice with the New York Philharmonic, once in 1963 and again in 1968. Again I prefer the later 1968 recording. It can also be found usually very cheaply because again it's out of print but will usually only run you about $2-$5.

    The cover for the 1968 version looks like this:
    Bernstein - Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique 1968.jpg

    If pressed for a third option I would choose Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. It's usually like $8 new and can be easily found.

    Mercury Living Presence Vol 1 - 15 - Berlioz - Paray.jpg

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    Realdealblues´ choices would be those that came to my mind too ...

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    Two Fantastique threads and a Pathetique one at the top of the forum today. Someone should start a thread "What's your favorite piece that ends in ...tique?"
    Last edited by bigshot; Nov-17-2016 at 21:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Two Fantastique threads and a Pathetique one at the top of the forum today. Someone should start a thread "What's your favorite piece that ends in ...tique?"
    Now that you've said it, it's sure to happen.

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by realdealblues View Post
    I have about 20 recordings of Symphonie Fantastique.

    My favorite recording is from Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

    Charles Munch recorded Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique twice with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, once in 1954 and again in 1962. The later 1962 recording is my personal favorite. You can usually find it used for around $2-$5 because it's out of print.

    The cover looks like this:
    Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique - Munch 1960.jpg


    The earlier recording is from the "Living Stereo" series and is also extremely popular and can easily be purchased new in a store if you're looking for something you can easily find instead of something second hand that would be another great option.
    Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique - Munch 1954.jpg

    It's a hybrid SACD so it will play on regular CD players as well as normal CD players and usually runs about $10.

    My other favorite recording is from Leonard Bernstein. Leonard Bernstein also recorded the work twice with the New York Philharmonic, once in 1963 and again in 1968. Again I prefer the later 1968 recording. It can also be found usually very cheaply because again it's out of print but will usually only run you about $2-$5.

    The cover for the 1968 version looks like this:
    Bernstein - Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique 1968.jpg

    If pressed for a third option I would choose Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. It's usually like $8 new and can be easily found.

    Mercury Living Presence Vol 1 - 15 - Berlioz - Paray.jpg
    This was a work whose appeal evaded me until I heard Paray. I have several other recordings including the Munch SACD, but they didn't take.

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    I am gong with realdealblues but I do add Riccardo Muti to the list.

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    Senior Member Brahmsian Colors's Avatar
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    Preferred version is Munch/Boston Symphony. Also like Colin Davis' Amsterdam Concertgebouw reading (not his later recording with the London Symphony).

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    Some really fine ones -

    Either Solti/CSO '72, or '92 [live/Salzburg Festival] - really excellent, the orchesttra really has this one down....
    Abbado/CSO is really good too - all in fine sound -
    an older one that is especially good -

    Mitropoulos/NYPO from '56. Mitropoiulos brings out an hysterical, creepy quality to the music which is most appropriate - the orchestra sounds great - the NYPO wild men of the 50s in fine form.

    I've never cared for any of the Munch versions - too sloppy, March is too fast, rhythmic breakdowns...probably exciting in live performance, but on recording, the errors become rapidly annoying...

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  20. #13
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    I would go with Charles Munch conducting the Boston Symphony. A great specialty and still sounds magnificent!
    Facts don't care about your feelings.

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    Lots of great suggestions here. I'd also like to add that I enjoy Liszt's piano transcription of Symphonie Fantastique.

    The recording I have is with pianist Todd Crow (Musicians Showcase recordings). This recording also has a piece composed by Liszt, "L'Idee Fixe," which is a kind of variation on Berlioz's main theme.

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    You know just like many of you I too prefer Munch 1962 version to other performances of this magnificent work but I also prefer his live April 17 recording to his more famous studio one. There is a sense of breathlessness there that I find lacking in his 1962 studio version or in any other version for that matter.

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