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Symphonic Music - Released November 30, 2018 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet
Berlioz's preface for his dramatic symphony Romeo and Juliet reads as follows: "Although voices are frequently used in it, it is neither a concert opera, nor a cantata, but a choral symphony. The reason there is singing almost from the start is to prepare the listener’s mind for the dramatic scenes where the feelings and passions are to be expressed by the orchestra. This latter scene depicts the reconciliation of the two families and is the only one to belong to the genre of opera or oratorio. If, in the celebrated scenes in the garden and in the cemetery, the dialogue of the two lovers, Juliet’s asides and the impassioned pleas of Romeo are not sung, if in short the love duet and the duet of despair are entrusted to the orchestra, the reasons for this are numerous and easy to grasp. First, and this would by itself be a sufficient justification for the author, the work is a symphony and not an opera. Then, since duets of this kind have been treated countless times in vocal form by the greatest masters, it was wise as well as interesting to try another mode of expression. It is also because the very sublimity of this love made its depiction so dangerous for the composer that he needed to allow his imagination a freedom which the literal meaning of the words sung would have denied him. Hence the resort to instrumental language, a language which is richer, more varied, less finite, and through its very imprecision incomparably more powerful in such a situation." This new recording by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra brings together American mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and tenor Nicholas Phan, as well as Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. Some people may disagree with the absence of French voices; it is true that the pronunciation of the soloists is a little wobbly at times, but let’s not forget that this is Berlioz: the overwhelming majority of the score is symphonic, and that is where the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra truly shines through. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released November 30, 2018 | San Francisco Symphony

Booklet