BasicRep – Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

Currently I have two favorite versions of the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, one famous and one not so much. The Munch / Boston Symphony Orchestra version on RCA is a classic, and is the reference performance. The early stereo is not great, and there is some slight aural artifacts here and there, but the playing more than makes up for it.

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amazonBerlioz: Symphonie Fantastique - Charles Munch, Boston Symphony Orchestra & Richard Mohr

My other favorite is an early 1980’s Decca recording with Mehta and the New York Phil, one of the early digital recordings from London Records. It is long out of print, and has disappeared into the vaults, not even making it out for some bargain reissue. I liked this recording enough to replace my vinyl with CD, and it is still the recording I come back to over any of the others. Well worth picking up a used copy.

Update [7/4/12]:

The Mehta SF did indeed get released again, as part of the Decca ‘Ultimate Berlioz’  5 disc set. This includes many of the major Berlioz works, including Davis and the LSO’s ‘Harold in Italy’ and Maazel’s ‘Requiem’, plus some overtures and other works. Not exactly an ‘ultimate’ collection, but at a price of around $15 for over 5 hours of music, it is definitely a bargain, and you get to hear a lot of great music.

This recording is also part of the BasicRep Starter Collection.

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amazon Ultimate Berlioz - Various Artists