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Classical - Released September 20, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Though the celebrations in France were rather patchy in terms of official concerts, apart from the Festival Berlioz de La Côte-Saint-André, the anniversary of 150 years since the death of Hector Berlioz was marked with great pomp in London, where fervent Berliozian John Nelson, conducted the Requiem on the very day of the event, 8 March 2019, in the gigantic St Paul's Cathedral, at the heart of the "City" of the UK capital.With three hundred musicians and chorists, this was one of the high points of the Berlioz calendar and a real London 'happening'. To save French honour, a colossal concert was recorded and filmed by a team who came from Paris, under the artistic direction of Daniel Zalay. One can imagine the difficulty involved in recording such a sprawling team, spread out throughout the vast edifice that was built after the great fire of 1666. Miraculously spared by the German bombs of 1940, it has a powerful symbolism for Londoners.The English love for Berlioz reflects the love that the composer felt for Shakespeare, which can be seen throughout his works. "There is no city in the world, I am convinced" – he wrote – "where so much music is consumed as in London". He regularly read the London press and closely followed the reactions to performances of his works. This 2019 anniversary concert was inundated by Londoners and the venue was sold out well before the day of the performance itself. John Nelson commands his gigantic team with a masterly hand, in perfect time, and with a perfect familiarity with a composer that he loves above all others, as once did Sir Colin Davis. The Philharmonia Orchestra responds to his slightest indication. The tenor's brief part is magnified by the voice of Michael Spyres, who projects across the assembly from the pulpit. An immense musical and commemorative event, the memory of which will long be kept alive by this album. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Opera - Released October 11, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 20, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Opera - To be released November 22, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Sacred Vocal Music - To be released November 1, 2019 | Alpha

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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Full Operas - Released January 1, 1960 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
A most relevant classic thanks to Markevitch’s fiery and electric direction and the sheer excellence of the Orchestre Lamoureux, which he directed at the time. The conductor of Russian descent is completely frantic, and perfectly conveys the visionary nature of this essential chapter of French romanticism. Listening to this version, one can fully grasp the modernity of Berlioz’s language, which lends itself to the most avant-garde staging, a paradox for a piece written for concerts rather than the stage. The sound recording, captured in the early days of triumphant stereophony, is simply extraordinary. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released November 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Record of the Year - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Record of the Month - Victoire de la musique - 4 étoiles de Classica
We will gladly forgive the occasional "weakness" in sound technology in this recording of Troyens by Berlioz (recorded live in concert in April 2017). In light of the first-rate quality of the music and vocals that appear on the disc (a majority of which are French voices, with Stéphane Degout at their head) this immense work is from the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra and the three choirs which have been brought together – because the work demands immense swelling choirs – which are the choir of the Opéra national du Rhin, the Opéra National de Bade, and the Strasbourg Philharmonic's own choir. This recording rests, of course, on the complete original edition, which gives the listener a chance to hear Les Troyens as the work was performed in 1863, at the Théâtre-Lyrique, in which some intense chopping saw Acts I and II condensed into one part and Acts III to V into another, producing two distinct operas (La Prise de Troie and Les Troyens à Carthage). We also get a taste, naturally, of Berlioz's immensely rich orchestral innovations: with every new work, he would invent some exciting new prototype from scratch, never content to rest on his laurels. The listener should note the presence of six saxhorns, recently invented by Adolphe Sax (of whom Berlioz was an indefatigable champion, even if he didn't often use his instruments in his scores, no doubt because of the poor quality of the early instrumentalists who learned - however well or badly - Sax's instruments); bass clarinet, and an army of percussion pieces including several instruments which must have been rare in those days: crotales, goblet drums, tom-toms, thunder sheets... clearly, this is a milestone in the Berlioz discography. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released August 26, 2016 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Symphonic Music - Released January 18, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
A new aesthetic calls for new forms: such is the challenge the composer set for himself in the two works presented here. In Les Nuits d’été, Berlioz pioneered, well before Mahler and Ravel, a song cycle for voice and orchestra. In Harold in Italy, scored for large orchestra and solo viola, he experimented with the symphonic genre. These period-instrument performances by Les Siècles, led by François-Xavier Roth, with violist Tabea Zimmermann, also feature Stéphane Degout in the vocal cycle, heard here in the composer’s own version for baritone. File under: out of the ordinary. © harmonia mundi
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Symphonic Music - Released November 30, 2018 | San Francisco Symphony

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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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Classical - Released February 1, 2019 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released December 3, 1985 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Among Colin Davis' great Berlioz albums, his 1969 recording in Westminster Cathedral of the Requiem, Op. 5, with the London Symphony and Chorus, must be considered one of the most powerful in its physical impact, compelling in its wide range of expressions, and moving in its spiritual austerity; in short, as satisfying a version as Berlioz ever could have wished for this imposing masterpiece. Of course, the spectacular high points of this Grand Messe des Morts are sure to draw the most attention, and few listeners will be disappointed by the cataclysmic sonorities in the Tuba Mirum (performed with four brass ensembles and eight sets of timpani, augmenting the expanded orchestra and choir) and in the only slightly less apocalyptic Rex Tremendae and Lacrymosa. But it's in the quiet, penitential moments where the Requiem is most spellbinding and affecting, and Davis draws subtle and highly expressive lines of counterpoint in the choral parts, in many places a cappella or with the barest of orchestral accompaniments. This 2007 reissue in The Originals series is rounded out with another Berlioz performance from 1969, the rousing performance at Wembley Town Hall of the Symphonie funèbre et triomphale, Op. 15. In its somber mood, Classical textures, and martial pacing, this grandiose work is atypical of the emotionally volatile and flamboyant Berlioz; this commemorative symphony most closely resembles French band music in its thick scoring for brass, woodwinds, percussion, and chorus. While it is perfectly acceptable filler for this double-disc reissue, the Symphonie may seem relentlessly bombastic to some listeners and quite vulgar in comparison with the profound feeling of the Requiem; as a consequence, it should be heard separately to be properly appreciated.
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Classical - Released August 15, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released April 27, 2018 | RCA Red Seal

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Classical - Released March 11, 2013 | LSO Live

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