Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
Berlioz: Fantasie sur la Tempête de Shakespeare
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
The Fantaisie sur la Tempete de Shakespeare was composed shortly after Berlioz had won the coveted Prix de Rome (at the fourth attempt) with his cantata Sardanapale, and was originally conceived as a concert overture, with chorus. After various reworkings of the material, the four-movement Fantaisie, as recorded here, became the finale of Berliozs monodrama Lelio- a juxtaposition of existing material interlinked with dramatic monologues recited by the artist at the center of the work. Symphonie fantastique, Berliozs best-known work by some distance, remains an evergreen in the orchestral repertoire, and beloved of audiences the world over. The idiomatic approach to orchestration, grounded in Berliozs musical training in French provincial wind-bands, and the revolutionary approach to the prevailing conventions of musical form at the time shine through in the five-movement masterpiece, which remains one of the most vividly programmatic symphonies ever written. This recording was made after a pair of performances in September 2018 in the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, and is made in Surround Sound.