Berlioz, Paavo Jarvi, SACD- opinions?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    This is one for the classical enthusiasts:

    I'm listening to the SACD of Symphonie Fantastique (conducted by Paavo Jarvi and performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra) for the second time- now on stereo, before on MC.

    I admit, I don't "get" this piece. I've heard it before, and I didn't "get" it then, either. I'm pretty ambivalent about the Romantic style as a whole- I like Beethoven and Schubert, only recently began appreciating Brahms, like some Tchaikovsky but dislike the rest, and enjoy Mahler just because his symphonies are so impossibly huge and dense that it somehow holds my attention. But Berlioz is one I could never digest. However, I try to pick up whatever classical I can on high-res.

    So, anyway, I'm just curious as to what people here who know and appreciate this work more than I think about this performance. I have nothing to compare it to.
     
  2. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Mike,
    I actually enjoy this SACD. I do have more favorite performances than this, namely:
    1. Mahler 6 by Michael Tilson Thomas, probably the best classical recording I have ever heard. SFS exclusively on Super Audio of course!
    2. Mahler 5 By benjamin Zander on Telarc. Zander, Jack Renner, and Michael Bishop. Need we say more.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Lee, I dig the Mahler 6, too. The 5 is Telarc, I believe, so hopefully Best Buy will get it.

    Other SACD Mahler in my collection:
    #2 on Delos
    #1 on Sony, conducted by Bernstein

    Anyway, I should have been clearer in my last: I meant performances of the Berlioz piece compared to other performances of this same piece, specifically the interpretaion.
     
  4. Stefan A

    Stefan A Second Unit

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    If anything, appreciate Berlioz for his innovative approach. Listen to other music written in 1830 and compare. Compare the instrumentation. Compare the rhythmic drive. Compare the meaning of the music - in this case the programatic elements. Compare the form and structure of the symphony. If you can read music, follow along with the score. Read the very specific messages he puts in the score. Very interesting. Get a copy of his "Treatise on Intrumentation" - very enlightening about what was going on in his head. His Memoires too.

    If you listen to Berlioz and realize how far ahead of his time he was, I think you will get it - and appreciate it. Berlioz is in my top 5 favorite composer list. Get a disc of his overtures. They are very representative of his style and a lot easier to take in. Plus, it's great music.

    I can't comment on comparisons to what you have. I have a couple Chicago symphony recordings which are great. The Barenboim recording really captures the style and details of the piece. I bet the Colin Davis with the LSO is good. There are tons of recordings of this.
     
  5. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Mike, Stefan & Lee...BTW, I always enjoy your music posts.
    Stefan said some very interesting things on Symphonie Fantastique . I also feel it's ahead of it's time . My reading is slow, and awful. So me following the score would be pointless if not pretentious. To reiterate, 1830, 3 years after Beethoven's 9th , this symphony is large. Sure we are aware with Berlioz's idee fixe with themes. I think it parallels nicely the story at hand, which even without notes appears tragic and irrational. Even setting all this aside, and reflecting back on when I first heard this, I was captivated, and have been since.
    Mike, I don't have SACD, so I cannot compare to your version. I have many versions, my favorite being the Munch/BSO What do you say to someone who doesn't "get" Symphonie Fantastique ? This is kind of funny, maybe we can all take it movement by movement?
    edit: for awful spelling
     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Fortunately, the SACD has liner notes that explain the themes and how they relate to the composer's own life; how it's all about art and love, and where the different movements fit in. Without this, I'd be even more lost.
     
  7. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  8. Tomoko Noguchi

    Tomoko Noguchi Second Unit

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    Inevitably, recordings of the Symphonie go best with the French. Charles Munch is one very fine conductor and he did one with the Boston SO when he was there that is very fine. After all, this music is the result of a composer who was so smitten with love for the woman he loved, that he used her as a muse for the music. He later married the woman, only to divorce years later. Berlioz was an ugly, short man with a wild personality.
     

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