Album review: Daniel Barenboim, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique; Liszt: Les Préludes (Decca)


If Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra required an illustration of its broad scope and open spirit, it would be hard to imagine any more flamboyant than Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, the grandiloquent orgiastic fantasy of depravity based on De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.

Compared to the more restrained reading by the Berliner Philharmoniker under Simon Rattle, it's subtly but enthusiastically rendered here, from the dreamlike euphoria of the opening “Rêveries – Passions” to the charging “Marche au Supplice” and apocalyptic witches' sabbath depicted in the climactic “Songe d'une Buit du Sabbat”.

Download: Rêveries – Passions; Marche au Supplice, Songe d'une Nuit du Sabbat