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Berlioz: Harold in Italy; Reverie et Caprice; Roman Carnival; Benvenuto Cellini / Lise Berthaud, viola; Giovanni Radivo, violin

Album Summary

>Berlioz, Hector : Harold in Italy for viola and orchestra, Op. 16
>Berlioz, Hector : Le carnaval romain (Roman Carnival Overture), ouverture catacteristique for orchestra, H.95 (Op. 9)
>Berlioz, Hector : Rêverie et caprice for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 8
>Berlioz, Hector : Benvenuto Cellini, Op. 23, Overture
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Drawing on the adventures of Byron's Childe Harold and the composer's own Italian experiences as a Prix de Rome winner, Harold en Italie was intended for the great violinist Paganini who, having initially rejected the work, later repented, giving it his highest praise. The brilliant concert overtures Benvenuto Cellini and Le carnaval romain are among Berlioz's most popular works. Quickly taken up by several celebrated violinists of the time, the elegant Rêverie et Caprice is his only work for solo violin and orchestra. Leonard Slatkin's Lyon recording of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique (8.572886) has been acclaimed as "quite simply one of the best on disc" by MusicWeb International.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Auditorium de Lyon, France (10/24/2013/10/26/2013).



Reviews

Berlioz Harold in Italy etc. Slatkin
Even in his lifetime Berlioz was always an overly sensitive and controversial character. He earned his living as a critic. As a composer and conductor he won more distinction abroad than at home, and members of the French establishment viewed him as an outsider. He fell in love with the English actress Harriet Smithson and pursued her relentlessly until she married him. The marriage was a failure, and after Harriet's death in 1854 he married Marie Recio, who had been his mistress for 12 years. His highly controversial "Symphonie fantastique" of 1830, which brought him both fame and notoriety, is notable for two main reasons - its brilliant and highly original orchestral coloring and its introduction into a secular work of the plainchant "Dies irae" theme, which hitherto had been used only in sacred works. He followed this in 1834 with the composition of "Harold in Italy," another unusual work described as a "Symphony in Four Parts with Viola Obbligato" that was inspired by Lord Byron's four-part poem "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage."
Many classical-music lovers of Berlioz' music will probably jump at the chance to acquire this new CD from Naxos, which contains "Harold in Italy," "Reverie and Caprice," and the overtures "Carnival romain" and "Benvenuto Cellini," all performed by the Orchestre National de Lyon under Leonard Slatkin, its current Music Director. Slatkin has many recordings to his credit, but his interpretations of Berlioz' music on CD seem to be rare; I could find only one other disc, which contains "Symphonie fantastique" and the overture "Le corsaire" (again with the Orchestre National de Lyon).
The performances seem excellent to me, and indeed I would expect no less from the Orchestre National de Lyon under Maestro Slatkin. The recording is up to Naxos' usual high standard and Keith Anderson's program notes are informative.
Ted Wilks
Submitted on 08/01/14 by Ted Wilks 
Topnotch Harold
Dont pitch your Munch, Bernstein, Beecham or Davis recordings just yet, but this is indeed a very fine Harold In Italy. All sections deliver the goods. The winds are particularly robust. Maestro Slatkins pacing is spot on. Perhaps the Orgy of the Brigands may have benefited from just a dash more frenetico ala Munch. Nevertheless, all else, i.e., phrasing, balance, dynamics, are faithfully and convincingly executed. The viola soloist, Lisa Berthaud is excellent: lovely tone production and articulation. The fillers are equally accomplished. Even the slight Reverie and Caprice comes off largely due to Giovanni Radivo fine playing. Tim Handleys production and engineering are exactly what one has come to expect from this veteran: naturally transparent textures, with a surplus of presence and impact.
Submitted on 08/19/14 by Allen Cohen 
Fantastic Berlioz from Slatkin
I must confess to being something of a Leonard Slatkin fan, as I always find something of value in his recordings, this one being no exception. Berlioz Harold en Italie has much to offer the listener, being suggested by Byrons Childe Harold and what a wonderful ride this is. It is quiet and sensitive and rollicking (particularly in the fourth movement), fun, and just flat out lovely. And it is obvious that the Orchestre National de Lyon and Mr. Slatkin are having way too much fun playing this piece. As described in the sparse liner notes, it is no wonder that Paganini loved it when he finally heard it, and it is disappointing that he did not take to the piece when first examining it.

This is not to say that the other works on this disc are lesser the Overture: Le carnival romain, Op. 9, H95 is simply delightful, as bright as it is clever. Track 6, Reverie et Caprice (Op. 8, H88), is gorgeous clearly written to show off the emotional qualities of the violin while at the same time demonstrating what a well-crafted partnership with a gifted orchestra can accomplish. This is a marvelous piece. The last work on the recording, Overture: Benvenuto Cellini, Op. 23, H. 76, is wonderfully orchestrated, and definitely requires a balance between the orchestra and the soloist. While well performed, this is arguably the piece with the most delicate balancing act on the program. As presented here, it serves as an example of what a good conductor can accomplish with a talented orchestra, and both entities should be very proud of what is presented here.

This all digital recording is as much of a treat for the ears as it is for the Berlioz lover in this listener it is clear and crisp and warm and fun. Leonard Slatkin has delivered again, as has Naxos, and I very much recommend this disc.

Submitted on 09/01/14 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Berlioz, Hector : Harold in Italy for viola and orchestra, Op. 16
  • Performer: Lise Berthaud (Viola)
  • Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
  • Ensemble: Orchestre National de Lyon
  • Notes: Auditorium de Lyon, France (10/24/2013/10/26/2013)
  • Running Time: 42 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 07/1834
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Berlioz, Hector : Le carnaval romain (Roman Carnival Overture), ouverture catactéristique for orchestra, H.95 (Op. 9)
  • Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
  • Ensemble: Orchestre National de Lyon
  • Notes: Auditorium de Lyon, France (10/24/2013/10/26/2013)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 01/1844
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Berlioz, Hector : Rêverie et caprice for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 8
  • Performer: Giovanni Radivo (Violin)
  • Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
  • Ensemble: Orchestre National de Lyon
  • Notes: Auditorium de Lyon, France (10/24/2013/10/26/2013)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 03/1841
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Berlioz, Hector : Benvenuto Cellini, Op. 23, Overture
  • Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
  • Ensemble: Orchestre National de Lyon
  • Notes: Auditorium de Lyon, France (10/24/2013/10/26/2013)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Studio/Live: Live