Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (Orchestre National de Lyon/ Leonard Slatkin) (Naxos: 8.572886)
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Immensely influential, the remarkable Symphonie fantastique
was composed while Hector Berlioz was suffering an intense and unreciprocated passion for the Irish actress Harriet Smithson. Its autobiographical tale describes a young musician's opium-poisoned nightmares of jealous despair and fatal justice following the murder of his beloved. Berlioz wrote a second movement cornet solo into a subsequent revision of the score, here included as an optional extra. He wed his sweetheart actress but, recuperating in Nice, wrote Le corsair
after the final breakup of their marriage.
Internationally renowned conductor Leonard Slatkin
began his tenure as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the 2008-2009 season. He was recently named Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon
, beginning with the 2011-2012 season. He completed his twelfth and final season as Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra in June 2008, and finished his three-year commitment as Music Advisor to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in June 2009. Slatkin continues as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.