fri 30/10/2020

Berlioz

Classical CDs Weekly: Berlioz, Markus Reuter, The Mozartists

 Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique, Rêverie et caprice, La mort d'Ophélie, Sara la baigneuse Utah Symphony/Thierry Fischer, with Philippe Quint (violin) (Hyperion)Just two big symphonies by French composers can be counted as standard repertoire....

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Suzman, London Schools Symphony Orchestra, Edwards, Barbican review - a cabaret from hell

The devil wore all manner of outlandish attire in last night's chameleonic programme devised by Peter Ash, the London Schools Symphony Orchestra's challenging artistic director. There was searing verse from Marlowe, Milton and Goethe; music from...

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Roméo et Juliette, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - surprisingly sober take on Berlioz epic

So much was fresh and exciting about Michael Tilson Thomas's years as the London Symphony Orchestra's Principal Conductor (1988-1995; I don't go as far back as his debut, the 50th anniversary of which is celebrated this season). Carved in the memory...

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Prom 72/3: Aurora Orchestra, Collon review – Berlioz not quite lost in showbiz

For a few seconds last night, the Royal Albert Hall turned into London’s biggest – and cheesiest – disco. At the end of the Ball movement in the Aurora Orchestra’s dramatised version of the Symphonie Fantastique, Berlioz’s tipsily lurching waltz...

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Prom 59: Benvenuto Cellini, Monteverdi Choir, ORR, Gardiner review - don't stop the carnival

So we never got the ultimate Proms spectacular, the four brass bands at the points of the Albert Hall compass for Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts, in the composer's 150th anniversary year. Yet Sir John Eliot Gardiner has learnt how to work the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Gounod, James MacMillan, Johannes Pramsohler

 Gounod: Symphonies 1 and 2 Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Yan Pascal Tortelier (Chandos)Roger Nichols’ lucid sleeve note underlines the point that Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique singularly failed to kick off a 19th century French symphonic...

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Prom 37: The Childhood of Christ, Hallé, Pascal/ Prom 38: Bach Cantatas, Solomon's Knot reviews - holy radiance great and small

Berlioz's most intimate oratorio certainly isn't just for Christmas – but, given its scale, is it right for the Proms? Certainly in anniversary year we'd hoped for something bigger: the Requiem, turned to mush earlier this year in St Paul's...

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theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - the beautiful and the damned

Our greatest Berlioz scholar, David Cairns, has called Le Damnation de Faust “an opera of the mind’s eye, not of the stage,” and I’ve certainly never seen a production that successfully staged its curious, episodic, actionless mixture of set piece,...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review – a brace of souped-up symphonies

It’s a fair bet that more people now know Harmonielehre as the title of the 1985 orchestral blockbuster by John Adams than the composition manual written by Schoenberg in 1922. Even the title is “typically, ironically John”, as Sir Simon Rattle...

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Berlioz Requiem, Spyres, Philharmonia Orchestra, Nelson, St Paul's Cathedral review - masses and voids

Asked to choose five or ten minutes of favourite Berlioz on the 150th anniversary of his death (yesterday), surely few would select anything from his giant Requiem (Grande Messe des Morts). This is a work to shock and awe, not to be loved - music...

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Hough, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - film music flows

No one worried about melting icecaps and homeless penguins when Vaughan Williams wrote his score for the film Scott of the Antarctic around 70 years ago. (They do now, as a new music theatre piece by Laura Bowler to be premiered by Manchester...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Bernstein in Paris

 Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1-5, Overtures, A Midsummer Night’s Dream London Symphony Orchestra/Sir John Eliot Gardiner (LSO Live)That Mendelssohn wrote five symphonies is widely known, though I'd wager that 99% of listeners only know 40% of them...

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