Amazing fidelity in this 45 rpm vinyl, though perhaps not the best performance.

HECTOR BERLIOZ: Symphonie fantastique – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/ Daniele Gatti – RCO/ Avotros 45 RPM vinyl (2 discs) ****1/2:

Gatti is the seventh conductor of the famed Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amserdam, and takes an unconventional version of the score which has astonished audience since its premiere in 1830. He has a sense of surprise and freshness based on the thorough knowledge of Berlioz’ score, and the joy of making music with the RCO member players who choose Gatti as their new chief conductor. This a masterful job of remastering at 45 rpm.

Unfortunately, the performance – while excellent – doesn’t seem to find anything new in this extraordinary work of Berlioz.  It is also available on a fine RCO multichannel SACD (which I have not heard) but using the pseudo-surround feature on most preamps creates an absolutely enveloping music in surround effect with this magnificent 45 rpm remastering. One writer compared the SACD sonics to the SACDs of the ten Mahler Symphonies released a few years ago by the Concertgebouw. The warmth and ambiance of the acoustically-perfect concert hall come thru either way. You would have to have a really good turntable system to appreciate the value of this expensive vinyl set.

This is also offered on a DVD but the audio-only version – whether on SACD or vinyl – is to be preferred.

—John Sunier