Shining orchestral displays
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Christoph Eschenbach is one of those conductors that seldomly search the glow of the limelight and are rarely talked about, but that have steadily worked and improved themselves and seem now ready to take on the world. The Orchestre de Paris used to be a "problem orchestra" and managed to annoy such great conductors like Herbert von Karajan (an Eschenbach mentor!) and Sir Georg Solti back in the early seventies.It is therefore all the more interesting that here now the "pupil" Eschenbach, Music Director of the ODP since almost three years now, delivers one the most beautiful and compelling recordings of Hector Berlioz' masterpiece Symphonie Fantastique. (Some credit goes to Barenboim, of course, who led and formed the orchestra for I believe some eighteen years.) The orchestra play it very organically with devotion for detail and lyricism, yet with a shimmering beauty and overall coherence, especially in the strings parts, that can give no other impression than having a conductor fully in charge and wholly in control. There is dynamic here, virtuosity, at times excitement, but most of all collective music making in a delicate balance between shininess and mysticism, which typifies the range of emotions and feeling expressed by Berlioz originally (life of an artist, love, failed marriage) and makes this work shine in its very essence, sensitivity and in its unique original beauty. This is not a loud and and pretentious performance, but a quiet, sensible one. It is not promoting a clichee, but the deep the inner feeling and 'psychedelics' (citation L. Bernstein) of an artists soul.Well done, and five stars for many more to come. Let's just hope that enough energy for Eschenbach will be remain in the future to concentrate on his Paris job as well as on his new appointment in, I believe, Philadelphia."