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  Living Stereo
  Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique - Munch
  Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Charles Munch (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 9 show all

Reviews: 2

Review by Ivymike February 21, 2006 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The performance of this warhorse was not released as a Living Stereo shaded dog in the 1950's but rather in its monoaural version, LM-1900. I purchased the Classic Records release in the mid-'90's on LP and later this SACD. There are better recordings and better interpretations out there.

The performance is decent but lacks the hellfire and brimstone approach that is so necessary in the last two movements. My reference recording is the BBC Music Magazine Volume II, Number I released in 1993. The BBC Symphony Orchestra is led by conductor Andrew Davis and what a performance! One easily forgives the live recording and the usual ill-timed coughs by the consumptives in the audience. The power of the last two movements is simply fantastic and the audience responds with appropriate enthusiasm at the end of the work. The CD can occasionally be found used for a song; if you can locate it give it a listen; the dynamic range is most impressive and it's one of those rare, hair-raising hi-fi recordings.

The sound is fine but nothing spectacular and certainly not in the same rarefied league as the better RCA's. It was taped in November, 1954 in Symphony Hall, Boston direct to two-track, quarter-inch 30 ips tape. There is plenty of 'space' present in the recording and the usual early RCA hole-in-the-middle effect is not that bad. Tape hiss is moderate in level but one gets used that, of course. Some gain-riding is evident during the last two movements with their increased dynamic range; listen to the sudden increase in the level of tape hiss between tracks three and four. Bass and treble response are both decent for such a vintage recording and the warmth that most 30 ips tape recordings evince because of head-bumps is rather pleasing.

An okay performance with okay sound that is worth a listen if you are interested in the history of stereo recordings.

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Review by dschawv February 20, 2006 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Picked this up about a week ago. I have always heard good things about this recording. Yet, never owned it in any incarnation before. As a performance, the strongest parts have to be, to me any way, the first and last movements. I dare say, the march to the scaffold is less harrowing than many other recordings. Though, compared to the Paray SACD, this is quite a bit better.
My benchmark, previous to this, has been the Chicago/Solti recording. Performance wise, I will always enjoy that one for the ferocity of the Scaffold movement and the woodwind/brass playing.
Don't hesitate to get this if you enjoy a good performance.
Soundwise, not an amazing release, but from my knowledge of previous versions, it seems better.

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Works: 1  

Hector Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique, H 48