In the hands of Daniele Gatti and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique is a fascinating opera for orchestra. You can watch the performance with or without Daniele Gatti’s commentary.
Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique is the first example of programmatic music, of a “symphonic poem”. The synopsis of the Symphonie fantastique is a vision. Berlioz imagines an artist – possibly based on himself – who meets an ideal love, after which he descends into a series of dreams, which become increasingly agitated. They end up in a mad nightmare, a Witches’ Sabbath.
Daniele Gatti was chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from 2016 to 2018. You can watch the performance of Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique with or without Daniele Gatti’s commentary. Gatti tells about the Symphonie fantastique: “It’s a theatrical piece, full of theatrical effects. The violins rattle their bows, the timpanist is asked to use only one stick – these are all stage directions. I have a lot of experience conducting opera, and that came in handy here. You really are a stage director, and you need to balance the drama in order to draw the audience in. It’s fascinating.”