Jean-Philippe Tremblay's 2012 release of Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique is a straightforward reading of this Romantic masterpiece, played magnificently by the Orchestre de la Francophonie. Considering that the trend toward period performance practice has made historically informed interpretations of this work rather prominent since the 1980s, modern orchestral performances seemingly have become somewhat less frequent and recordings of them have a much lower profile. It would be a shame if Tremblay's recording were passed over in the rush to play Symphonie fantastique on original instruments, because this is an excellent performance on modern instruments that has much to recommend it. There is great coherence in the linear approach Tremblay takes that propels the music forward, and the urgency of Berlioz's melodic writing is almost sufficient to carry the work by itself. While there are many magical moments in the orchestration to pause over lovingly, which authenticists often do, Tremblay doesn't tarry but concentrates on keeping the energy high and the music moving, which certainly makes the "Scène aux champs" hold together and which creates suspense and excitement, especially in the hair-raising Marche au supplice and "Songe d'une nuit de sabbat." Analekta's reproduction is absolutely clear, resonant, and spacious, so it is exceptionally vivid and impressive for a conventional CD.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphonie fantastique. Op. 14|