The San Francisco Symphony under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas performs one of the most astounding symphonies in the repertoire, the Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. What presumption by this 26-year-old French composer, to think that he could write and produce (he personally hired the players) a massive five-movement symphony! Strange things happen when presumption is matched by genius: the young man created an enduring masterpiece that is still fresh and exciting today, nearly 200 years later…
With the release of this live recording of Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, RCO Live celebrates the start of its collaboration with Daniele Gatti as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's seventh chief conductor on 9 September 2016. His unconventional take on this spectacular score evokes the astonishment audiences must have experienced at the time of the 1830 premiere. It is exactly this sense of surprise and freshness - founded on a thorough knowledge of the score - and the sheer joy of making music together that prompted the members of the RCO to choose Daniele Gatti as their new chief conductor.
John Eliot Gardiner conducts his Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique through two concerts of Berlioz compositions. The 'Symphonie Fantastique' is an orchestral tour de force which is central to the repertoire of every major orchestra. It is performed here on original instruments in its original 1830s orchestration in the atmospheric old hall of the Paris Conservatoire where it was first heard. Also included is the first performance of the newly discovered 'Messe Solennelle' with the Monteverdi choir. Written when Berlioz was just 20 years old, it was thought lost until its rediscovery in 1992. The first performance of this large-scale Mass for 150 years was filmed in London's Westminster Cathedral. Gardiner's period-instrument orchestra gives characteristically idiomatic performances of these seminal works (which are also linked thematically, through Berlioz's extensive re-use of material from the Messe).
Ever since the world premiere of Parsifal at Bayreuth on 26th July 1882, the meaning of Richard Wagner's last opera has been widely discussed. Nikolaus Lehnhoff's visionary staging of this emotionally charged opera reveals a masterpiece of existential drama about human existence. Christopher Ventris and Waltraud Meier lead an inspired cast in a high definition recording in true surround sound.