This relatively obscure version of the Symphonie Fantastique is surely one of the jewels in the RCA Living Stereo crown. One of RCA’s early stereo recordings, for whatever reason, this version wasn’t released with RCA’s first group of stereo LPs – Charles Munch decided to re-record the piece in the early sixties, a lackluster recording that has been universally damned when compared to the gem they originally produced in 1954. The 1954 recording didn’t appear on LP until the mid-sixties; by then, RCA had embraced the sonically awful DynaGroove LP technology, which totally masked any sonic benefits of the original tapes. Only recently (through the efforts of RCA and especially Classic Records) has this album regained its reputation as the sonic masterpiece it is. The Symphonie Fantastique appears here in its original stereo incarnation; the accompanying piece, the Love Scene from Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliette, is offered in three channels.
The sound quality is just superb throughout. This is one of those early RCA’s that so amazingly captured not only the essence of the performance, but such an abundance of spatial cues that you’re eerily transported through time to the recording venue, front row, center. Sonically, the disc is a blockbuster; there’s very little in terms of tape hiss, and dynamics are offered with tremendous impact! This disc is not to be missed – very highly recommended!
— Tom Gibbs