BBC Proms 2017 / 7: Berlioz Symphony fantastique / BBC Symphony Orchestra / Joshua Weilerstein

Disappointed by this performance of Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique.

Some caveats necessary. I’ve heard Symphonie fantastique a lot. I’m familiar with the work.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that to show off. My formative listening experience was via University lecturer Denis McCaldin who introduced me and a whole bunch of reluctant second-year music history undergrads to Roger Norrington’s ‘authentic’ recording with the London Classical Players. Anything that tries to follow that is going to struggle. Norrington was, at the time, doing a ground-breaking thing.

Weilerstein got into his stride by the third movement. But there were some missed opportunities – pausing to ‘place’ a chord in the woodwind soon before the end might have created a sense of anticipation. And the coda in the final movement was also a bit strange.

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