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Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Overture: Waverley

LSO0757 SACD + 1Blu-ray audio

Available now

Available now

Available now

Watch trailer here

Valery Gergiev conductor

CHOC de Classica

**** Performance ***** Recording BBC Music Magazine

Performance ****½ Sonics ****

‘Superb new recording… the climax of tonight’s concert of recent releases.’ The Full Works Concert radio programme, 18th November.
Classic FM

'The London Symphony gives both Berlioz works their best ... The fantastique is a fresh reading, and in some respects, like hearing the piece for the first time.' Audiophile Audition 

Berlioz let his imagination run wild in his music, finding inspiration in all manner of sources, including his own turbulent personal life. His experience of powerful, unrequited love finds its expression in the emotionally charged Symphonie Fantastique, the story of an artist’s ‘hopeless love’, complete with waltzes, witches and a hallucinogenic nightmare.

There are few orchestras with the music of Berlioz more thoroughly in their blood than the LSO, and here Valery Gergiev brings to bear his opulent interpretation of this landmark piece.

As well as SACD, this recording will be released for the first time on the label on Pure Audio Blu-ray, which will enable the orchestra to be heard in high resolution sound on every Blu-ray player. Bonus HD video footage of the Symphonie fantastique will also be included on the Blu-ray.

Digital booklet:

Price: £12.99

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**** Performance ***** Recording
‘For good measure, as well as the high-quality surround-sound recording, there is additional video footage of the symphony. Sonically, this is in a difference class from the Davis disc… The playing from the London Symphony Orchestra is, as so often, exceptionally refined, yet very much alive and full of colour in both the Symphonie fantastique and the accompanying Waverley Overture.’
BBC Music Magazine 

CHOC de Classica
His (Gergiev’s) Symphonie fantastique is of exceptional narrative dimension - a true epic, set to music! Volcanic, warrior-like, this revolutionary piece is performed with uncommon rage. This is Symphonie fantastique, ridden by Gergiev. One bows in respect.’

‘He (Gergiev) drives the orchestra ferociously to one of the most terrifying climaxes imaginable… It is a memorable performance.’
International Record Review

**** Performance **** Sonics
‘For a new departure for LSO Live the 2-disc package contains both a hybrid SACD with 5.1 multi-channel and 2.0 stereo mixes and also a Pure Audio Blu-ray disc. The latter also includes what is modestly described on the CD case as 'video footage', but is in fact an excellently filmed complete Barbican performance of the Symphonie fantastique in high definition video. This is well worth watching if only to marvel at how the tooth pick wielding maestro gets such compelling results from his orchestra.’

‘Superb new recording… the climax of tonight’s concert of recent releases.’ The Full Works Concert radio programme, 18th November.
Classic FM

“The lossless DTS Master Audio tracks are really superb. The music emerges from a noiseless background. The strings sound realistic, and the orchestral image is well rendered in the front speakers. The deep bass is solid for the fourth and fifth movements, never blurring and the dense orchestration never becomes sonically diffuse. It’s a demonstration quality recording with the wide dynamic range high resolution audio that are so well reproduced.” Audiophile Audition

'The best of this revolutionary format.' AV Magazine

‘The opening movement ‘Rêveries – Passions’ is uncharacteristically relaxed and poetic with beautifully nuanced playing especially from the strings. Gergiev’s seating of the orchestra with antiphonal violins is an excellent plus point as is his inclusion of the exposition repeat – something not always found on recordings from the past…This issue represents a considerable bargain for those sympathetic to Gergiev’s persuasive Berlioz and I look forward to its future continuation.’ Classical CD Choice

‘The playing of the opening of the first movement of Berlioz Symphonie fantastique is warm and tender with dark contrasted colours…Gergiev employs the broadest of colour palates, subtle tempo changes, rubato and other creative means to gain maximum expressiveness from the music. The other movements produce a rich and expressive sound, not least because of the exceptional quality of the London Symphony’s soloists – especially the woodwinds….the 'Witches' Sabbath' is terrific…’ Pizzicato (Germany)

‘The conventional jewel-case houses two discs: the now customary hybrid SACD plus a novel Blu-ray disc containing both a Pure Audio audiophile alternative and a complete filmed performance of the main work … There are plentiful close-ups of the toothpick-wielding maestro, more selective views of his players (including the antiphonally placed violins) and a taste of the concluding applause otherwise excluded … What matters here is that this live recording preserves personalised music-making of real distinction.’ Gramophone

Concert Reviews

***** ‘Gergiev came to the platform and launched a seemingly possessed LSO into some of the most thrilling Berlioz one could ever hope to hear. With utterly sincere lyricism from cor anglais Christine Pendrill alongside ear-splitting, monstrous brass fanfares, this was a performance which, whilst totally committed to Berlioz’s uncanny ideas, was just as original and brilliant as the man himself.’

***** ‘Gergiev strode onto the stage to deliver a robust reading of Berlioz’s Waverley overture. With Gergiev’s awareness of colour and timbre, their performance made for enjoyable listening.’
Music OMH

‘'The March to the Scaffold’ went at a smart pace, with a chilling execution, and in an intensely dramatic ‘Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath’ the LSO, having already produced outstanding playing in the first four movements, achieved still greater heights of virtuosity, with the second violinists unusually permitted to show off their considerable paces at the front of the platform, opposite the firsts.’


Valery Gergiev conductor

London Symphony Orchestra

Recording Details

SACD + Bluray audio disc/digital LSO0757 (822231175728)

James Mallinson, producer

Jonathan Stokes for Classic Sound Ltd, engineering, mixing & mastering.

DSD recording, live at the Barbican, 31st October 2013 & 14th November 2013 

2.0 Stereo and multi-channel 5.1
Total playing time 65m

Clear Brilliant box (2 disc slimline) with clear tray, and Pure Audio branding. (16 pp) booklet. 

Notes in English, French and German. 

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