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Berlioz: Romeo et Juliette & Overtures / Slatkin, Orchestre National de Lyon


Release Date: 04/12/2019 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573449  
Composer:  Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Julien BehrMarion LebègueFrédéric Caton
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National OrchestraSpiritoChœurs et solistes de Lyon-Bernard Tétu
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Of all Berlioz’s Shakespeare-inspired works, Romeo et Juliette is unquestionably his masterpiece. It is also cast in an innovative new form, a kind of ‘super-symphony’ that incorporates elements of symphony, opera and oratorio. Berlioz composed no singing roles for the central characters, but allowed others to comment or narrate, giving latitude to incarnate the lovers in a musical language of extraordinary delicacy and passion. The vivid ‘Ball Scene’ and ‘Romeo at the Capulet tomb’ are intensely dramatic but the heart of the work is the ‘Love Scene,’ a long symphonic poem which Richard Wagner called ‘the melody of the 19th century.’

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REVIEW:

Roméo gets off to an arresting start with a
Read more properly combative ‘Introduction’ representing the fighting houses of the Montagues and the Capulets. Once past the vocal preliminaries, Berlioz becomes orchestra-centric for a lonely and sad Romeo, a party courtesy of the Capulets (Juliet’s brethren), a serene if burgeoning love episode and the remarkable ‘Queen Mab (Scherzo)’. All are handsomely brought off, Slatkin not so much conducting the music as communing with it.

Of the Overtures, that to Béatrice et Bénédict is deftly traversed with flair and fondness (and an ear for the piccolo). It’s an adorable piece, Berlioz at his most mercurial, wistful, spring-heeled and insouciant, whereas King Lear is great theatre, more a symphonic poem than the composer’s designated Concert Overture, informed here by sonorous strings, dramatic cut and thrust, and with lyricism that is aflame, including a long-lined melody that stays with you and for which Slatkin mercifully avoids dragging phrase-ends; one of Romantic Music’s glories.

– ClassicalSource.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17 by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Julien Behr (Tenor), Marion Lebègue (Mezzo Soprano), Frédéric Caton (Bass)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra,  Spirito,  Chœurs et solistes de Lyon-Bernard Tétu
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; France 
2.
Béatrice et Bénédict: Overture by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860-1862; France 
3.
Le roi Lear Overture, Op. 4 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 

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