Berlioz : Symphonie Fantastique

Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting the New-York Philarmonic Orchestra

Columbia MS 6030

Speakers Corner Records : LP 180 gram

Brand New and Sealed Record

  • Contents & Details

    Louis-Hector Berlioz (1803 - 1869) composed La Symphonie fantastique : Épisode de la vie d'un artiste ... en cinq parties (Fantastical Symphony : An episode in the life of an artist, in five parts) in 1830.

    I - Rêveries, Passions (Reveries, Passions)
    II - Un bal (A Ball)
    III - Scène aux champs (Scene in the fields)
    IV - Marche au supplice (March to the scaffold)
    V - Songe d'une nuit de sabbat (Dream of a night of sabbath)

    Leonard Bernstein described the symphony as the first musical expedition into psychedelia because of its hallucinatory and dream-like nature, and because history suggests Berlioz composed at least a portion of it under the influence of opium. According to Bernstein, "Berlioz tells it like it is. You take a trip, you wind up screaming at your own funeral."

    Beethoven had just finished writing his symphonies when, in 1830, a young Frenchman created a sensation with his completely novel and exuberant orchestral music. Based on classical music form, Berlioz composed his »massive instrumental composition« as a five-movement musical drama. Such a stroke of genius, in which the ego and grief thereof are described, had never been heard before in the French Romantic period.
    Berlioz employs a very large orchestra with a big timpani section, four bassoons and military brass to present the young artist – an autobiographically motivated character – who dreams his way through the various episodes, hallucinating and frenzied. Here it is clear that it is Berlioz’ declared intention to express the artist’s visions radically and unmistakably in music – beginning with the ever-recurring delusional 'idée fixe' via a terrifying opium intoxication and ending up with the nightmare of his own burial.
    Of the many high-quality, often highly impassioned performances, this particular one by Dimitri Mitropoulos is certainly a benchmark recording. The great conductor makes the rhythms pulsate; he skilfully mixes the wealth of sound colouring, and blends the orchestral instruments so subtly that one notices previously unheard details with every listening.

    Recorded in February 1957 in New York City.

    This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the original analogue studio tapes through to the cutting head and was pressed with virgin vinyl at Pallas. More information under

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