Simon Rattle conducts Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique” (1993)
08 Nov 1993
Sir Simon Rattle
Les Boréades, ballet suite (27 min.)
Symphonie fantastique, op. 14 (59 min.)
A mid-term concert: it was in 1987, when he was still only thirty-two, that Sir Simon Rattle made his début with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Six years later he returned for the present concert with works by Berlioz and Rameau, and another six years after that the orchestra, by a large majority, named him Claudio Abbado’s successor as their new chief conductor and artistic director.
And so it is no exaggeration to claim that this live recording from November 1993 is a document of historic importance, for it is the first visual and acoustic record of the orchestra’s work with the man who was to become their principal conductor. Even at that early date Rattle impressed not only with his masterly conducting but also with his interesting programming. His concert brought together two works by French composers that could hardly be more different: on the one hand there is Jean-Philippe Rameau, whose operas, keyboard works and sacred music represent the high point of the French Baroque, and on the other hand we have Hector Berlioz, the towering figure of French Romanticism and a “musician of the future” in the most literal sense of the term. And yet the famous Symphonie fantastique by the twenty-six-year-old Berlioz and Les Boréades – the final work by the then eight-one-year-old Rameau – attest to the same delight in musical experimentation to which conductor and orchestra do consummate justice with their jaunty élan and fiery attack.
© 1993 EuroArts Music International
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from EuroArts