Monday, August 17, 2009

Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique - Dudamel, LAPO (FLAC)

Grammy Nominee 2009

Berlioz - Symphony Fantastique - Dudamel, LAPO (FLAC)
Symphonic | Eac, flac, cue | log, covers, booklet | 1 CD, 246 MB
May 2008
| DG Concerts | FileFactory

Now here is a Gustavo Dudamel performance that lives up to the media hype surrounding the Los Angeles Philharmonic's young music-director-designate (hype reinforced in Steven Stucky's pre-concert talk). This Symphonie fantastique brims with energy and vitality. Along the way Dudamel makes the most of Berlioz's constantly changing dynamics, especially the many shifts from soft to loud, reinforcing this work's element of surprise. It's also a richly colored performance, most strikingly at the end of A Ball, where the cornet sounds straight out of a mariachi band. Okay, so maybe that makes the passage sound more Mexican than French, but it's really beautiful. Also beautiful is the string playing, certainly so in the first (Reveries: Passions) and third (Scene in the Country) movements. The brass play marvelously as well, really bringing out Berlioz's novel coloristic effects: listen to the rude blatting in the March to the Scaffold.

The only weak spot is the beginning of the Witches' Sabbath finale. Here is where other conductors (Munch, Boulez, and Bernstein) render the music with an imagination and finesse that eludes Dudamel (in Bernstein's first New York Philharmonic recording you can almost see the goblins swirling about). Some listeners might question the fairness of comparing the young Dudamel with those master musicians, but if you're going to play in this game, you've got to be ready to go up against the big boys. Still and all, Dudamel has given us one of the freshest and most engaging Symphonie fantastiques of recent vintage--a judgement with which the wildly applauding audience in this live performance obviously concurs. The recording has wide dynamic range and good bass, but noticeably less warmth than DG's usual studio standard. And since it's available for download via iTunes, you can satisfy your craving for instant Berlioz gratification.--Victor Carr Jr

Berlioz - Symphony Fantastique - Dudamel, LAPO

1. Rêveries. Passions (Largo - Allegro agitato ed appassionato assai) [14:57]
2. Un bal (Valse: Allegro non troppo) [6:40]
3. Scène aux champs (Adagio) [17:59]
4. Marche au supplice (Allegretto non troppo) [6:39]
5. Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat (Larghetto - Allegro - Ronde du Sabbat: Poco meno mosso) [9:43]
6.Upbeat Live - pre-concert lecture [4:53]
Total 6 track(s)

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