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CD Review

Hector Berlioz

Roméo and Juliet

  • Roméo and Juliet
  • Damnation of Faust (excerpts)
  • Rehearsal sequences from both works
Chorus and NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini
Guild GHCD2218/19/20 3CDs 228m ADD
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Guild continues their inestimable and fastidiously documented Toscanini Broadcast Legacy with this three disc set featuring a scintillating performance of Hector Berlioz's magnificent choral symphony, 'Roméo and Juliet'. This broadcast has Toscanini at the height of his powers in 1947 and also includes a crack team of soloists with Gladys Swarthout, Garris and Moscona, who are, quite inexplicably not named in the extensive booklet notes that make fascinating reading. Toscanini's performance is white hot on all counts; he brings a fantastic passion to proceedings that definitely displace Davis on the top of the pedestal in this symphony, although the English conductor is definitely recorded in better sound. The Italian conductor's grasp of the performance's architectonics is impressive on all counts and also demonstrates his affinity with Berlioz's music that is all too often overlooked. The additional bonus of a substantial chunk from 'Damnation of Faust' together with rehearsal sequences definitely make this set highly desirable. Toscanini enthusiasts should not hesitate to grab this bargain without delay.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech