…This is a performance that holds your attention from first note to last–a rare feat in this work. (Munch's later Deutsche Grammophon effort pales by comparison, both sonically and interpretively.) If you want this Berlioz Requiem (and you do), SACD is the way to hear it.
The nine-time Juno-winning Canadian James Ehnes is centre stage in a new recording of orchestral works by Berlioz, with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. This recording was made following an extraordinary concert in November 2014 with the same forces, in which James Ehnes played two instruments made by Stradivarius, respectively a viola in the solo part of Harold en Italie – ‘symphony with a principal viola part’, in Berlioz’s words – and a violin in the solo of Rêverie et Caprice, both of which works feature here.
…His overwhelming natural affinity for French music made Charles Munch an ideal conductor for Berlioz’s swirling tour de force Symphonie Fantastique. Perfectly capturing the drama, romance & philosophical angst in which this masterpiece is marinated, Munch takes the Boston Symphony Orchestra on an epic journey of proportions only possible in the human heart & mind. A classic, reborn in vivid Living Stereo.
Recorded in 2010 during Riccardo Muti's first subscription concerts as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's tenth music director, this new double-CD release pairs Hector Berlioz's beloved Symphonie fantastique with its sequel, Lélio, ou le retour de la vie (Lélio, or The Return to Life). Berlioz intended Symphonie fantastique to be followed by Lélio in concert, as the artist returns to life to comment anew on music and art. Maestro Muti and the CSO are joined in Lélio by the acclaimed actor Gérard Depardieu as the narrator, tenor Mario Zeffiri, bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus. With the "conclusion and complement" of Symphonie fantastique, as Berlioz referred to Lélio, this recording increases listeners' familiarity with the music of a daring and revolutionary composer.
This is a delightful recording from a conductor more closely allied than any other to Berlioz's music. With Berlioz the devil is always in the detail; he was an extraordinary orchestrator and capable of writing unidiomatically for instruments–especially the woodwinds–in order to get exactly the sound he wanted. Or rather, sounds, for the whole texture is made up of many layers. Davis understands this as if by instinct, and draws some beautiful playing from the instrumentalists without ever losing sight of the whole picture. It has been said that the French style of phrasing is all foreplay and no climax: the singers bring this teasing quality to their long, flowing lines but with a charmingly English home-counties blush too. Elsie Moris's light tone is a perfect match for Peter Pears' cool, silvery voice in this respect - and the choir too makes a good full sound without ever getting too heavy. The two discs also include some other gems from the pen of this most idiosyncratic of composers.
"My life is a novel which interests me very much", Hector Berlioz allegedly once said to a friend. For this reason, in 1848 – at the age of 45 – he began writing his memoires. When the work was published posthumously in 1870 the public was astonished by the candour and literary prowess with which Berlioz described the course of his life.
Ticciati cements his reputation as an outstanding Berliozian with his latest recording, L’enfance du Christ, featuring the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Ticciati is a regular guest conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, widely considered to be one of Europe’s leading orchestras. The SRSO has won many Swedish and international awards including a GRAMMY and has made several GRAMMY-nominated recordings.
Robin Ticciati cements his reputation as an outstanding Berliozian with his latest recording, ‘Berlioz: Les nuits d’été’, which includes excerpts from Roméo & Juliette and La Mort de Cléopâtre. A pupil of Sir Simon Rattle and the great Berliozian Sir Colin Davis, Robin’s reputation as one of this generation's best conductors was assured when he was announced as the next music director of Glyndebourne, taking over from Vladimir Jurowski in 2014.
It’s splendid that these Nixa discs are once more back in the catalogue. I believe they saw some life back in the late 1980s with transfers by Mike Dutton but those have, in any case, long been unavailable. Scherchen takes on rather Stokowski-like repertoire here – Berlioz, Rimsky and Tchaikovsky and in the case of second composer, certainly, he proves a formidable guide. His Berlioz has divided critics for half a century and that’s not likely to change, however attractive the presentation – and it is extremely attractive with full colour artwork depicting the original LP sleeves, some excellent photographs and useful ancillary material in the form of critical commentary. This is one of Tahra’s increasingly valuable “book” sets – the four CDs and text and artwork housed in book form, ten inches tall.