Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-69)
Roméo et Juliettea.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-92)
aNadine Denize (mezzo); aPiotr Beczala (tenor); aPeter Lika (bass); aEuropaChorakademie; South West German Radio Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Sylvain Cambreling.
Recorded in the Konzerrthaus, Freiburg on aMay 28th-30th, 1998, bSeptember 13th-15th, 1999. [DDD]
HÄNNSLER FASZINATION MUSIK CD93.005 [two discs] [122.00]
Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS
 Amazon recommendations


Berlioz referred to his Roméo et Juliette as a ‘symphonie dramatique’, and Sylvain Cambreling certainly takes note of the drama of this fascinating score. It seems that Cambreling’s gifts have yet to achieve full recognition in the UK, but a glance at his biography reveals extensive operatic background, including Messiaen’s St François d'Assise in 1992 at the Opéra Bastille in Paris and a Pelléas et Mélisande with the LPO at Salzburg.

Certainly the South West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baden-Baden und Freiburg (of whom Cambreling is chief conductor) seem to respond keenly to his ear for detail and clarity, both in Berlioz and in Messiaen. They are quite simply superb throughout: listen, for example, to the extended opening of the Second Part of Roméo. The lightness of delivery of the famous ‘Queen Mab’ Scherzo which concludes this part is a thing of wonder, and throughout powerful passages are balanced as carefully as pianissimo ones. Enhancing the experience is the EuropaChorakademie, whose choral contribution positively makes the performance. Their ghostly, emaciated, hushed singing in the Third Part is particularly impressive (only the high sopranos yield to the London Symphony Chorus on Colin Davis’ most recent version, LSO Live LSO0003).

The idea of coupling Berlioz with Messiaen works beautifully: both reveal almost superhuman sensitivity to instrumental colour, each in his own individually Gallic way. Cambreling and his forces are every bit the equal of their major rivals, the Paris-Bastille Orchestra under Chung (DG 435 854-2). There is a contained power to Cambreling’s brass in the first movement, and the third is full of life. The final movement, however, is the crown of this set: the luminous, slow moving textures emerge hypnotically as Cambreling bathes the listener in a aural pool of light.

A truly impressive release that I urge all to hear.

Colin Clarke

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.