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Berlioz: Harold in Italy; Rob-Roy; Rêverie et Caprice / James Ehnes, violin & viola; Andrew Davis, Melbourne SO

Album Summary

>Berlioz, Hector : Rob Roy Overture, H.54
>Berlioz, Hector : Rêverie et caprice for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 8
>Berlioz, Hector : Harold in Italy for viola and orchestra, Op. 16
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The virtuosic, 9-time Juno-winning Canadian James Ehnes is centre stage in this new recording of orchestral works by Hector Berlioz with the Melbourne Symphony conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. This recording mirrors an extraordinarily rare concert held in November 2014 with the same forces, in which James Ehnes played two 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 for the solo in Rêverie et Caprice, both of which feature here. Berlioz was never ashamed to recycle his music from one work to another, especially when the earlier work had been rejected by the public or by the composer himself. In 1834, Paganini asked Berlioz for a work in which he could display his power on a fine Stradivarius viola. Berlioz then composed the four-movement Harold en Italie Symphony, incorporating passages from the Rob-Roy overture which he had recently rejected. Similarly, Rêverie et Caprice was the form eventually given to an aria from the opera Benvenuto Cellini, unceremoniously booed in Paris in 1838. Berlioz transformed it into a violin solo piece three years later, becoming the only piece he ever wrote for solo violin.

Gramophone Magazine, July 2015
Davis and his production team have worked hard to keep James Ehnes's quite ravishingly beautiful playing in focus..It sounds as if Davis sees the work as more lyrical and Romantic...than as a sequel to the experimentation of the Fantastique...he sets his soloist off well and gives worthwhile accounts of the shorter pieces.

The Guardian, 13th May 2015
Ehnes's viola-playing is warm and expansive, but it is in the relatively compact ROverie et Caprice that he is at his graceful best, gliding through mercurial moodswings and maintaining a notably lyrical line.

The Telegraph, 3rd May 2015
[Ehnes] is the protagonist in this all-Berlioz programme, but the disc is equally distinguished by the lucid, exhilarating, smoothly contoured playing of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under that experienced Berliozian Sir Andrew Davis.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (2014).



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Works Details

>Berlioz, Hector : Rob Roy Overture, H.54
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Ensemble: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (08/01/2014/08/08/2014)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 07/1831
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Berlioz, Hector : Rêverie et caprice for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 8
  • Performer: James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Running Time: 8 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 03/1841

>Berlioz, Hector : Harold in Italy for viola and orchestra, Op. 16
  • Performer: James Ehnes (Viola)
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Running Time: 41 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 07/1834