Historic and superb!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Fantastqiue is one of the top four or five choices. For one thing, this was Paray's orchestra, and Markevitch doesn't try to hide the obvious influence of the Maitre still held by the orchestra when this recording was made (1957, and don't let the age deter you; the sound is excellent).But there's plenty that's original. It's a white-knuckle account, full of Gallic flair, and the wind and brass virtuosity has to be heard to be believed. Just listen to the snaggly Lamoureux brass between your speakers as it goes off to the scaffold, get a load of the fizzly, hair-raising winds in dreams and passions. Markevitch, himself a Paris fixture who knew everyone and everything au courant, takes you through a psychotic vision much like Argenta does in his version, but with a lot more finesse, candor, and class. It's a truly "bad" trip that somehow makes sense, not a carnival house of horrors for the garconerie.The Cherubini and Auber are more than mere fillers. These are old Lamoureux "curtain-raisers" that bring us a glimpse of the great tradition of Charles Lamoureux and the orchestra he founded. These are "favorite numbers" that allow old Parisians to nod knowingly at each other and experience the unique nostalgia of Lamoureux concerts, every Sunday, rain or shine, free to the public.This is a rich and full reissue of historic magnitude that deserves to be in every serious musicologist/music lover's collection."
There are better Markevitch recordings
emmkay | Illinois | 04/29/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I disagree with the other reviewer. While the Lamoureux was Paray's orchestra, it lacked the precision and sense of ensemble displayed by the Detroit Symphony in Paray's own recording of this work. The intonation is sketchy, the strings (cellos in particular) are not together and the brass lack differentiation of dynamics and instrumental color. This is orchestrally altogether an inferior performance. Markevitch himself made a truly magical recording of Op.14 with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1953 (also on DG) which rises leagues above the quality of this Lamoureux performance. E.g. in his Berlin performance, Markevitch creates such a magical atmosphere at the entrance of the idee fixe in the second movement that one really feels a woman of such stunning beauty has entered the ballroom as to make all heads turn. This kind of magic the Lamoureux players are simply incapable of conveying despite Markevitch's passionate direction. Why this and not the Berlin performance made it out of the archives and into the Originals series is beyond me."