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Slowest Symp Fantastique final movt ever?

Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:00 pm
by soylentgreen
I have an incredible and comprehensive love for classical music, but as my education went towards history and film(and my band career ended in 9th grade!)my ability to articulate any given point about the music will probably seem quite provincial in these parts...so I just ask, be gentle. :oops:

I'm always hunting for new performances of a work I like. In the classical music realm, that's not unheard of(though I do the same with film music...and 'cover' versions of film scores are generally poo-pooed by purists, the snobs :wink: ) Anyway, I came across a performance of the Symphonie Fantastique in a classical newsgroup and on listening to it, it has what to me sounds like the slowest performance of the final movement I have ever heard.

I realize, interpretations can vary, but this just seemed beyond slow. Ironically, it featured some orchestrational touches I hadn't heard elsewhere...one instance being, adding a very low piano key strike to the bell strikes. It put me in mind of Kilar's BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA score.

The audio file has no specific details(of course). The titles are in spanish and appear to refer to it as from a collection of some kind.

I don't know if it's appropriate, but I would be more than happy to host the final movt on one of those free file sharing sites so that if anyone is interested in discussing this particular performance we can all work from the same page...someone may even recognize it.

I could host in straight(mp3, no frills) or zip or rar it with password. I just don't want to violate the protocol here.

Re: Slowest Symp Fantastique final movt ever?

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:26 am
by CharmNewton
soylentgreen wrote: I realize, interpretations can vary, but this just seemed beyond slow. Ironically, it featured some orchestrational touches I hadn't heard elsewhere...one instance being, adding a very low piano key strike to the bell strikes. It put me in mind of Kilar's BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA score.
The piano is part of the score (I believe it's optional), and was included in Bernstein's telecast of the Symphonie fantastique on one of his Young Person's Concerts (subtitled "Berlioz Takes a Trip"). The piano may have been dropped for the commercial recording. The first time I heard the piano in this work was Mitropoulos' recording with the N.Y. Philharmonic, an LP I still possess.

One of the wilder Finales is Weingartner's from 1925. He really conjures up spooky images and bones rattling.

John

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:58 pm
by soylentgreen
Hmmm...I did not know that about the score. I'm grateful for your pointing that out.

I was immediately drawn to the incredible sound it made and I'm almost positive I haven't heard it in any other recordings I've come across. I will take a closer listen though as now I'm quite curious.

As with most classical works, my first real exposure tends to define the parameters that I judge other performances of the same work by. I was pretty young when I found a performance on album of SYMPHONIE led by Charles M√ľnch at a local library. To this day, his tempo(particularly in the final half of the last movt)is what I consider opitmum...not too fast and not too slow. Some conductors push the final seconds of the work so fast that the frenzy blots out any ability to appreciate the orchestration.

Re: Slowest Symp Fantastique final movt ever?

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:46 pm
by Corlyss_D
soylentgreen wrote:I could host in straight(mp3, no frills) or zip or rar it with password. I just don't want to violate the protocol here.
Check the rules. I don't think we have any addressing posting of sound files. I think you'll be okay if you want to put it up.

The Management.

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 11:06 pm
by Heck148
soylentgreen wrote:Some conductors push the final seconds of the work so fast that the frenzy blots out any ability to appreciate the orchestration.
Munch was famous for that - he pushed the final bars so hard that the low brass could not make the descending chromatic scale lick. I know the bass trombone player who played for Munch; he said it was really frustrating at that spot....the tempo would go wild.

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 2:41 am
by soylentgreen
Heck148 wrote: Munch was famous for that - he pushed the final bars so hard that the low brass could not make the descending chromatic scale lick. I know the bass trombone player who played for Munch; he said it was really frustrating at that spot....the tempo would go wild.
That's so funny, I don't recall the finale being performed all that fast. I wish I could remember the exact orchestra. Frankly the only thing I do remember is the back of the album being a full blown image of Munch's face, his teeth were particularly memorable!

Somewhere I have the Angel(I believe)Barbirolli performance. The bass is a bit lacking in the recording(a distinct weakness in the last two movts) but I've noted they've reissued it under the Seraphim/EMI banner, so they may have remastered that. I wonder if my memory of Munch is blurring with that. I'll have to dig it out and check now.

Your story makes me curious, is the tempo notation in Berlioz's score given so little credence that conductors can just...well...run away with the work?

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:25 am
by Heck148
Munch was famous for playing different tempi at concerts. he seemed to enjoy throwing curve-balls at the orchestra and audience...he knew he was pulling a fast one, but did it anyway, with a twinkle. he did not seem to enjoy the routine of rehearsal.

He was a great guest conductor - the kind who comes in prepares on little or no rehearsal, but generates lots of excitement...so it's a little sloppy, so what??....everyone had fun!! :D
soylentgreen wrote:Your story makes me curious, is the tempo notation in Berlioz's score given so little credence that conductors can just...well...run away with the work?
no, it shouldn't run away, and it should certainly not decay to to the point that execution is sloppy...waving the stick faster is easy....getting the notes to sound that much faster is a considerable challenge..

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 6:20 pm
by soylentgreen
Since it doesn't seem to violate the rules here, I've uploaded the performance I mentioned up top. It was posted in a classical newsgroup and seems to be from a collection of some kind.

It's hosted at quicksharing.com:
06_Sinfon_a_fant_stica,_op._14_Sue_o_de_una_noche_de_aquelarre

The details are missing so I wonder if anyone might actually be able to ID it. As I said above, it strikes me as a particularly slow performance and maybe that's a giveaway to some soul.

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 6:26 pm
by piston
The file is downloaded but it doesn't start automatically. What's the password?

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 6:37 pm
by piston
No reply! Should we worry about downloading files around here? Indeed, does CMGF need a specific protocol with regard to guest to guest downloads in this age of hack/hack/terrorize/terrorize?

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:09 pm
by soylentgreen
piston wrote:The file is downloaded but it doesn't start automatically. What's the password?
piston wrote:No reply! Should we worry about downloading files around here? Indeed, does CMGF need a specific protocol with regard to guest to guest downloads in this age of hack/hack/terrorize/terrorize?
It's not meant for streaming.

I just checked the hyperlink and the link and file are fine. It's mp3...no password. As with most free file host sites, you must wait the 20-odd seconds for bandwidth accomodation. Then simply click the link and your browser should start your file/save process. Takes about a minute at most with cable.

There was no logged download for it until I tried the hyperlink myself, so I believe you may have not gotten further in the process than the link page.

If you feel like, run your virus software on the file...it's 21 meg so it shouldn't take long.

If you still have trouble let me know, I can try another hosting site. This one was just the must frill free and easiest for the file shareees

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:09 am
by val
Although my favorite version of the Fantastique is the one of Beecham, there are two exceptional interpretations, that in the Finale, even with a fast tempo, remain clear and showing all the details: Paray with Detroit and Argenta with the orchestra of the Paris Conservatory.