Magazine article Gramophone

Berlioz: Harold En Italie

Magazine article Gramophone

Berlioz: Harold En Italie

Article excerpt

Berlioz

Harold en Italie, Op 16 (a). Reverie et Caprice, Op 8 (b). Intrata di Rob-Roy Mac Gregor

James Ehnes (b) vn/ (a) va Melbourne Symphony

Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis

Chandos [F] [SACD] CHSA5155 (64' * DDD/DSD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Chandos's new release continues a potential Berlioz cycle from Sir Andrew, following his well-received Overtures disc with the Bergen Philharmonic (5/13). This release neatly rounds up the loose ends of Reverie et Caprice (the composer's only solo violin work) and the still strangely neglected Rob Roy, Berlioz's second Walter Scott-based overture, which makes teasing use of the patriotic ballad 'Scots wha hae wi Wallace bled'. The Paris Conservatoire audience of 1833 didn't like it at all but two of the melodies were moved seamlessly from the Scottish to the Italian mountains the following year when Berlioz began his Byron-based viola work for Paganini.

Concerto or symphony? Not enough of the former, thought the celebrity-conscious string virtuoso at first--and that issue has sometimes become a more practical musical one of basic balance between soloist and modern orchestra. How naturally that problem is swept away, however, is made apparent by the success of the 'original' instrument recordings under John Eliot Gardiner (Philips, 8/96) and Marc Minkowski (Naive, 2/12), the latter in its pacing and pretty well operatic narrative clarity a worthy follow-up to his Symphonie fantastique. …

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