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Berlioz: Les Nuits D Ete / Cargill, Ticciati, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Berlioz / Ticciati / Scottish Chamber Orch
Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Linn Records   Catalog #: 421  
Composer:  Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Karen Cargill
Conductor:  Robin Ticciati
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Just about everyone, myself included, welcomed Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra's first recording in their Berlioz series, Symphonie Fantastique, particularly for its smaller-scale approach, keenly focused and not Romantically sprawling, so recalling Berlioz's Classical influences. This is also true of their second disc, but I found myself asking whether it would work quite as well because in both these pieces the solo voice has such a major role, hardly lending itself, one might think, to such reduction and concentration.

Scottish star mezzo- soprano Karen Cargill, in fact, has a remarkably beautiful voice, full of sunny delicacy and warmth but also capable of Wagnerian dramatics. Her French will do almost
Read more as well as, say, Susan Graham's, infusing innocent terms like ‘des fraises des bois' with gentle sensuality, while not stinting the anguish of loss and regret. But the orchestral side must not be eclipsed, especially in Mort de Cleopatre's harmonic and rhythmic contortions (‘Well, she is dying in agony!' the composer pointed out).

It's worth remembering, though, that Berlioz's own orchestras were often relatively small. Ticciati's chamber forces do make a difference from the sound we're used to, without disturbing and essential balances. Against them, the brass especially, the voice sounds more at ease and more flexible, no longer competing with full symphonic power; the players in turn underpin Cargill's performance with more precise shading, especially since the individual instruments stand out more sharply. The overall effect is less potentially controversial than in the Symphony, but still contributes an air of freshness and immediacy which I greatly enjoyed.

-- BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

1. Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17: Adagio "Scène d'amour" by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Robin Ticciati
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; France 
2. Les nuits d'été, Op. 7 by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Karen Cargill (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Robin Ticciati
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; France 
3. La mort de Cléopâtre: Scene Lyrique by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Robin Ticciati
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; France 

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