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new-classics.co.uk, October 2014

The Symphonie Fantastique…[is a] revolutionary work [that] provoked much controversy. This ground-breaking Blu-ray Audio disc features an exemplary recording the Symphonie Fantastique by the Orchestre National de Lyon under Leonard Slatkin together with the overture to Le corsaire… © 2014 new-classics.co.uk Read complete review



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, March 2014

…here we have a performance that is never less than good—and one that’s very well played…

My overall verdict would be that if you want a BD-A version of this highly original masterpiece and choose this Slatkin disc I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. You’ll find that both sonically and interpretatively it’s very reliable and often much better than that. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Christopher Dingle
BBC Music Magazine, January 2013

Performance
Recording

There is stylish playing in both the Symphonie Fantastique and the Overture. © 2013 BBC Music Magazine



Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, January 2013

BERLIOZ, H.: Symphonie fantastique / Le corsaire (Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin) 8.572886
BERLIOZ, H.: Symphonie fantastique / Le corsaire (Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0029

Slatkin gives us a solid, balanced, well-paced Symphonie Fantastique…Where some conductors see in the score a green light for all sorts of over-the-top shenanigans, Slatkin draws the listener’s attention to the beauty, nuance, and carefully wrought inner detail of the music.

The Big News here is that this recording has excellent sound—not showy, punchy, hi-fi store demo sound, but clean, balanced, warm sound that flatters the performance. The standard CD sounds better than some SACDs I’ve sampled.

…if you have a full AV surround system with HDMI connection from the Blu-ray player to the receiver, it’s probably worth the extra money to invest in the Blu-ray version of this release. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Lee Passarella
Audiophile Audition, December 2012

…this recording of Berlioz with his new orchestra is a very good one. As it should, the program starts off with the overture, Berlioz’s Le corsaire…Slatkin and his orchestra give it a properly dashing reading. On to the meat of the program: Sinfonie fantastique. The performance captures the fancy of the piece quite well…Maybe the best movement is the third, Scène aux champs, where the extra serenity that Slatkin builds into the music presents a striking contrast to the agonized section toward the end of the movement…

The fourth movement, Marche au supplice, has enough swagger, as well as menace, to make its points. The two tubas add some wonderful, comically flatulent commentary on the proceedings. The finale, Songe d’une nuit de Sabbat, has sufficient terror and mystery about it to convince…Slatkin’s performance is a very balanced one… © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2012

BERLIOZ, H.: Symphonie fantastique / Le corsaire (Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin) 8.572886
BERLIOZ, H.: Symphonie fantastique / Le corsaire (Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0029

Third time lucky, and Naxos now have a performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique that fits comfortably into the high quality of their catalogue. It has the immediate benefit of being played by a French orchestra at the disposal of a conductor, Leonard Slatkin, who is used to working with the brilliance of American ensembles. Add the two together and we have a performance that highlights the fantastic elements, but avoids the more garish colours we find in many recordings. Tempos are never rushed, Slatkin allowing the core angles to linger over his shepherd pipings in the third movement, and does not have the condemned running to the scaffold, as we hear in many recorded versions. He also takes the repeat of the opening section of the march. I equally enjoy the subtlety in his use of instruments, the timpanists creating such a real sound of thunder in the third movement, you suspect the real thing has been added. Slatkin is ever mindful of Berlioz copious dynamic markings built on pianissimo that are of a magical quality. Yet I suppose most audiences look to the work’s purple patches and Slatkin is never found wanting, while at the same time retaining sufficient drama until the finale with its clamorous bells in the big ending the work calls for. The disc adds a novelty with an additional track that reprises the second movement, Un bal, with the cornet solo Berlioz added after the first performance, probably to please a famous cornet player of the day. Having been brought up in the concert hall and on disc with Sir Thomas Beecham’s swaggering account of Le corsaire, I equally warmed to Slatkin’s more classical and restrained approach, excellently played by the Lyon orchestra. Sound in both formats is outstanding, though Blu-ray adds that extra inner clarity and open texture that makes it worth the extra outlay if you have top of the range equipment. © 2012 David’s Review Corner






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6:25:19 AM, 18 December 2014
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