Silvestri's adrenaline surges in the latter parts of this spectacular 'Manfred'
are truly unforgettable souvenirs of the power that this underrated conductor
managed to draw from his orchestras. Indeed, I would arguably place this
Manfred at the top of the recorded pile as regards shattering white heat.
One also marvels at the crystal-clear mono recording, almost one of the finest
I ever heard emanating from the notorious Salle Wagram. Silvestri's 'Lento
lugubre' is deeply eloquent and full of passion whilst the transition to
the Allegro is quite simply disarming for its hedonistic and orgiastic intensity.
I always enjoy waiting for the final part of this movement and I must say
that Silvestri's incredible tempo creates a cataclysmic wash of sound that
make other contenders of the likes of Muti and Maazel pale away into
insignificance. The Vivace con spirito is also ethereal in its fairy like
intensity and once again, one has to admire the Parisian band for its incredible
virtuosity. Silvestri's Andante con moto is quite disarming with melodies
and deeply felt Tchaikovskian passions coming to the fore in what must be
one of the most intensely gut-wrenching adagios ever committed to the Manfred
Finally all is resolved in the grandest manner possible with an Allegro con
fuoco that really breaks the barriers of recorded sound as we are accustomed
to it! Silvestri and his Parisian players are veritably on Byron's clifftops,
dicing with death all the way but surviving with miraculous escapades of
ensemble. Some shoddy ensemble slips are obviously forgiven, but what excitement!
It almost makes one feel emotionally drained after listening to such an
The Lizst filler has been described as the greatest performance of a symphonic
poem ever committed to disc and I would do no less than agree wholeheartedly
with that ambitious statement. The exploitations and adventures of Torquato
Tasso come alive with unbridled vintage Philharmonia passion and those final
triumphant bars are a veritable tour-de-force of orchestral virtuosity.
Testament's crystal-clear remastering and copious notes are just an added
embellishment to what must be one of the finest historical reissues of the