Album Cover Of The Week: ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ The Toronto Symphony

For the final Halloween-themed Album Cover Of The Week, I am featuring a classical album recorded by the Toronto Symphony in 1967, under the direction of a famous conductor named Seiji Ozawa. ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ was written in 1830 by Hector Berlioz, a French composer. The plot of this particular symphony involves an artist overdosing himself on opium, which causes him to enter a series of nightmarish hallucinations, including a scene where the protagonist fantasizes about murdering his lover, and ending with a demonic orgy at a Witch’s Sabbath.

The cover depicts a surreal dreamscape of flying fish, poppies, and naked women. The man in the centre appears to be turning into a glove. He gazes at one of two moons, through a telescope that is turning into a hand which clutches a top hat. Poppies in various states of decay tie the image into the opium theme. Sadly though, no demons. But it’s still awesomely creepy and bizarre, and the plot of the symphony itself strengthens the Halloween connection. According to the liner notes on the back, this image was created by someone named Don Ivan Punchatz. Great job, Don!

Here’s a YouTube link to the same record (the piece is divided into 7 videos). It is an amazing piece. Enjoy!

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