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Berlioz: Cantatas

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
From 1827 to 1830, Hector Berlioz sought the prestigious Prix de Rome and composed a cantata for each year's competition. As might be expected, his originality stood in the way of immediate success, and the first three efforts were deemed inadequate or unperformable. In his fourth attempt, Berlioz finally acquiesced to most of the constraints imposed by the judges and won, though even here his vivid music exceeded their conservative expectations. "Herminie" 1828 is a scène lyrique for soprano and orchestra, and this passionate piece opens with the melody that later became the famous idée fixe of the "Symphonie fantastique." "La Mort de Cléopâtre" 1829 is a turbulent ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
From 1827 to 1830, Hector Berlioz sought the prestigious Prix de Rome and composed a cantata for each year's competition. As might be expected, his originality stood in the way of immediate success, and the first three efforts were deemed inadequate or unperformable. In his fourth attempt, Berlioz finally acquiesced to most of the constraints imposed by the judges and won, though even here his vivid music exceeded their conservative expectations. "Herminie" 1828 is a scène lyrique for soprano and orchestra, and this passionate piece opens with the melody that later became the famous idée fixe of the "Symphonie fantastique." "La Mort de Cléopâtre" 1829 is a turbulent death scene that lasts for an astonishing 20 minutes. "La Mort de Sardanapale" 1830 won the prize for Berlioz; though only a fragment of this bold cantata survives, the scene is given here with a recitation of the missing section's text. "La Mort d'Orphée" 1827 is the least accomplished of the four, but it reveals a feverish romantic imagination already at work. Michèle Lagrange, Béatrice Uria-Monzon, and Daniel Galvez-Vallejo sing with high drama and ardor in keeping with the operatic nature of these solo cantatas; and the Orchestre National de Lille and the Choeur Régional Nord-Pas-de-Calais directed by Jean-Claude Casadesus deliver suitably intense accompaniment.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/19/2003
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 747313581023
  • Catalog Number: 8555810
  • Sales rank: 254,393

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Herminie, cantata ("scène lyrique") for soprano & orchestra, H. 29 - Hector Berlioz & Jean-Claude Casadesus (21:12)
  2. 2 La Mort de Cléopâtre, for soprano & orchestra, H.36 - Hector Berlioz & Jean-Claude Casadesus (20:51)
  3. 3 La Mort de Sardanapale, cantata for soprano, male chorus & orchestra, H. 50 (fragment) - Hector Berlioz & Jean-Claude Casadesus (5:57)
  4. 4 La Mort d'Orphée, for tenor, women's chorus & orchestra ("monologue et bacchanale"), H. 25 - Hector Berlioz & Henri Berton (13:01)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jean-Claude Casadesus Primary Artist
Lagrange Primary Artist
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