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Shakespeare: Berlioz, Elgar, Dvorak / Fiore, Munich Radio Symphony


Release Date: 07/25/2006 
Label:  Orfeo   Catalog #: 645061   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Hector BerliozSir Edward ElgarAntonín Dvorák
Conductor:  John FioreJohn Fiore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

There are zillions of collections of music inspired by Shakespeare, but this one is more interesting than most in its selection of repertoire. None of the works here could be classified as a "warhorse", and it's fun to hear them together, rather than as usually presented--on albums devoted solely to the music of each individual composer. This is particularly true of Falstaff, a work whose gruff but curiously intriguing character comes across as less lumpish and truculent--on the surface, at least--when not surrounded by more familiar (and readily digestible) works by Elgar. This is also a very good performance, rich in texture, sensitive in the "dream" interlude, and resoundingly rowdy when required. In a work that Read more spends so much of its time in the bass register, it's great to hear a German orchestra that's strong in exactly the area that most English ensembles come up short.

John Fiore conducts the Berlioz disc-opener with the necessary finesse. It's a bon-bon that probably has never received a poor performance, and it certainly sounds fine here. Dvorák's Othello Overture really deserves more attention in concert than it gets. It's a splendid, passionate piece full of good tunes, and it's also gorgeously scored. I have no qualms at all about the intensity of this performance. The brass ring out and the strings play with plenty of fire. A little more sensitivity to the music's special colors (harp, suspended cymbals) might have been appropriate, but this is a minor quibble, especially as the sonics are bright, natural, and have plenty of the necessary impact. In short, this is a very entertaining and satisfying program that reveals each work in a highly favorable light.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Falstaff, Op. 68 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  John Fiore,  John Fiore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1913; England 
2.
Othello Overture, Op. 93 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  John Fiore,  John Fiore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1892 
3.
Béatrice et Bénédict: Overture by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  John Fiore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860-1862; France 

Featured Sound Samples

Beatrice et Benedict, H 138: Overture
Falstaff, Op. 68: Falstaff & Prince Hal
Othello, Op. 93, B. 174

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