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Berlioz: Harold en Italie, La mort de Cléopâtre [download]

  • Catalogue Number LSO0760
    UPC 822231176022

    James Mallinson producer
    Classic Sound Ltd engineering, mixing & mastering

    Recorded live at the Barbican, 1st & 12th November 2013
    DSD (direct stream digital) recording

    2.0 Stereo and multi-channel 5.1
    Total playing time 63m 09s

    Jewel case with clear tray. 24pp booklet. Notes in English, French and German.

  • Album of the Week Mail on Sunday

    ****1/2 ‘Gergiev maintains a strong tension from the outset, and paces Harold en Italie with an urgency and emotional fire that are rare, and violist Antoine Tamestit brings a dramatic flair to his part, in contrast with more purely lyrical interpretations that tend toward the introspective. In the cantata, La mort de Cléopâtre, mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill projects a similar kind of intensity and presence, and the lyricism and passion of the music is heightened in her collaboration with Gergiev and the LSO. The sound of this hybrid SACD is vivid and close-up, so every detail of the performances can be heard.’ All Music

    High Fidelity Test Disc ‘With a live presence and vitality typical of LSO Live, this recording of Harold en Italie finds the orchestra at its best and provides a thrilling test for a system.’ Gramophone

    **** Diapason

    **** Rondo

    ‘These are vividly coloured, gripping live performances. Antoine Tamestit’s viola offers silky sound in the Byron-inspired symphony Harold en Italie. In La mort de Cléopâtre… the mezzo Karen Cargill is deeply affecting.’ Sunday Times Culture

    ‘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… Karen Cargill gives a gripping account of The Death of Cleopatra… her slow chromatic descent as the poison takes effect is breathtaking, while Berlioz’s extraordinary ending is fully realised through the brilliance of the LSO’s string section.’ Gramophone

    ‘Tamestit is certainly impressive here, as much for rapt, soft playing as for technically challenging spots. The orchestral sound is rich and full… With Gergiev the tranquil sections have a nice atmospheric feeling… Cargill does an excellent job portraying the agony and tragedy of Cleopatra (who dies of poison). Gergiev and the LSO are also impressive. A fine recording.’ American Record Guide

    ‘With beautiful solo viola-playing and a real sense of the power of the orchestra, the LSO Live’s Harold en Italie shines as a 24-bit/96kHz download.’ Gramophone

    ‘[Antoine Tamestit] is very fine indeed, and elevates this performance…Gergiev is most at home during the helter-skelter of the Brigands' scene, which he enlivens with all the red-blooded tension you would expect of him… Things improve still further when Karen Cargill arrives for Le Mort de Cléopâtre. She impressed me mightily when she recorded this scene for Linn, and she is every bit as impressive here, perhaps even pushed to still greater things…’ MusicWeb International

    ‘Viola soloist Antoine Tamesitt is exceptionally eloquent and Gergiev subtle in a reading that might not plumb the depths but makes the surface sound pretty wonderful. Part of this effect is due to the LSO Live recording, in which the upper strings are sweet and airy... This label’s SACD recordings are all excellent; if you like the sound, and who wouldn’t, you can rely on it from release to release. They are hybrid multichannel discs... adding the center and rear channels of the SACD layer are like applying a magic wand to something that’s already great... this one will be listened to again.’ Rads Reference Reviews

    ‘Karen Cargill is quite superb in the role of the expiring queen [La mort de Cléopâtre].’ Fanfare

    ‘[Gergiev] brings out details in the score, and the third movement Serenade finds both him and Tamestit more characterful, with greater engagement with dynamics and phrasing… An impressive range of tone and emotion [La mort de Cléopâtre].’ BBC Music Magazine

    ‘The finely nuanced playing of Antoine Tamestit helps keep things together as the orchestra produces sounds ranging from the pastoral and almost folk-like to the highly dramatic – to call Gergiev’s handling of the very ending of this work “emphatic” is greatly to understate the case. Harold in Italy is nicely complemented by La mort de Cléopâtre, which Karen Cargill has made something of a specialty.’ Infodad

    ‘The refined Parisian violist Antoine Tamestit executes the solo part with elegance.’ Fanfare

    ‘If you didn't get enough of the electric conductor last week, his two new recordings [LSO0760 Berlioz Harold en Italie & MAR0553 Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition] rank among his best. Berlioz's Harold in Italy with the London Symphony Orchestra significantly features French violist Antoine Tamestit. Though his tone isn't captured in optimum sound, his sense of interpretive focus is.’

    ‘I listened again to the whole album last thing in the evening in the lounge without any means of making notes, settled back and enjoyed everything much more, especially the delicacy of the opening scene-setting of Harold in the mountains and the Abruzzi Serenade.’ MusicWeb International


Valery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra

Violist Antoine Tamestit, and mezzo-soprano, Karen Cargill join forces with the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, in the latest instalment of their Berlioz exploration.

Composed in 1834 at the suggestion of Paganini and later completed in Montmartre, Harold en Italie received its first performance at the Conservatoire de Paris later that year. “I wanted to make the viola a kind of melancholy dreamer” – Hector Berlioz. Taking inspiration from Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Harold en Italie is among the most poetic of Berlioz’s oeuvre, its ingenious use of solo viola charting the dreamy Harold’s wanderings throughout the Italian countryside, and the characters encountered along the way.

Composer   Berlioz
Conductor   Valery Gergiev
Performers   London Symphony Orchestra
Soloists   Antoine Tamestit, Karen Cargill

Track list
1. Harold en Italie, Op.16: I. Harold Aux Montagnes. Scenes de melancolie, de bonheur et de joie
2. Harold en Italie, Op 16: II. Marche des pélerins chantant la prière du soir
3. Harold en Italie, Op 16: III. Sérénade d'un Montagnard des Abruzzes à sa maîtresse
4. Harold en Italie, Op 16: IV. Orgie de Brigands. Souvenirs des scènes précédentes
5. La mort de Cléopâtre: Scène Lyrique / Allegro vivace con impeto – Lento cantabile
6. Méditation / Largo misterioso – Allegro assai agitato

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