Immerseel's Berlioz makes an impact

Jos van Immerseel leads the Anima Eterna Brugge to a period-instrument performance of Berlioz works like no other

Composer: Berlioz
Repertoire: Symphonie fantastique, et al.
Artists: Anima Eterna Brugge/Jos van Immerseel
Rating:  4/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: ZigZag Territoires ZZT 100101

Immerseel’s extensive performance notes with this period-instrument recording set high expectations, and the result is a performance quite different from any other. Whereas Roger Norrington emphasises the shock of the new and John Eliot Gardiner relishes Berlioz’s trailblazing sonorities, Immerseel achieves a textural transparency and dynamic micro-flexibility that one might scarcely have thought possible. With violins divided left and right of the conductor, the subtlety of Berlioz’s scoring makes an indelible impact, leaning more towards the ‘fantastic’ than ‘symphonic’. However, for the best reading on modern instruments, Paul Paray still holds sway.