Magazine article Gramophone

Berlioz: Harold En Italie, Op 16

Magazine article Gramophone

Berlioz: Harold En Italie, Op 16

Article excerpt


Harold en Italie, Op 16 (a). La mort de Cleopatre (b)

(b) Karen Cargill mez (a) Antoine Tamestit va

London Symphony Orchestra / Valery Gergiev

LSO Live [M] [SACD]. LS00760 (63' * DDD/DSD)

Recorded live at the Barbican, London, November 1 & 12, 2013

These two works are impressively recorded. The sound is particularly full and spacious; even listening on ordinary stereo equipment, Berlioz's evocative writing is fully realised--as in the gloomy mountain scenery at the start of Harold, and the effect of the Pilgrims' March gradually receding as evening falls.

This performance of the symphony makes an interesting contrast with another LSO Live version dating from 2003, with Colin Davis and Tabea Zimmermann (Tamestit's teacher). The sound quality here is more direct, less evocative; and though both performances are very well played, Davis imparts a greater urgency and stronger expressive character to his interpretation. In the first movement's coda, the playing is more precise, with more sense of mounting excitement, while the trombones in the finale appear more menacing. …

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