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Berlioz: Harold In Italy / Yehudi Menuhin

Release Date: 02/06/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 72465   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin
Conductor:  Sir Colin DavisJohn Pritchard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

BERLIOZ Harold in Italy. 1 Rêverie et caprice 2 Yehudi Menuhin (vn, va); Colin Davis, cond; 1 John Pritchard (cond); 2 Philharmonica SO EMI 72465 (53:11)

For many of us, and for many years, this 1962 recording of Berlioz’s Harold in Italy Read more featuring Yehudi Menuhin had iconic status. Part of a series of Berlioz recordings by Davis that introduced such overwhelming masterpieces as Les Troyens , this Harold in Italy not only popularized, or repopularized the work, but seemed to define it. To my ears, that has remained true despite recordings by Toscanini, Bernstein, Gardiner, and despite two quite different, newer renditions led by Colin Davis himself, the 1975 recording on Philips, and the 2003 live recording on the London Symphony’s own label. The Menuhin recording is more sober and impressive and slower than the later recordings. Clearly Davis rethought the tempos of the piece over the years, and the London Symphony was comfortable with whatever tempos he chose. Certainly the sound is better on the live recording than on the Menuhin, which now sounds slightly pinched to my ears. Still, the mystery of the opening bars is rendered so effectively, and Menuhin plays his part so unaffectedly, that I find that my preference for this early recording holds, though just barely, just as my preference for Davis’s first recording of the Symphonie fantastique remains. I suppose I would recommend that fans get all three. Davis’s live recording includes ballet music from Les Troyens . His second recording, with violist Nobuko Imai, is available on a two-fer called “Great Orchestral Works,” which includes that Symphonie fantastique , two overtures, and the Symphonie funèbre et triomphale . This reissue has Yehudi Menuhin’s performance with John Pritchard of the interesting, rarely performed Rêverie et caprice , which Berlioz adapted from a soprano aria cut from Benvenuto Cellini . The performance is pleasing. Menuhin is more openly passionate, but the recorded sound is glaring.

FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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Works on This Recording

Harold en Italie, Op. 16 by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin (Viola)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834; France 
Date of Recording: 1962 
Ręverie et caprice for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 8 by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin (Viola)
Conductor:  John Pritchard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; France 

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