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example, the juxtaposition of ‘criens’ and ‘rien’ occurs in ‘Le spectre de la rose’, she rolls her Rs affirmatively and gives full vent to the intended assonance. ‘Reviens, reviens’ in ‘Absence’, by contrast, is voiced with the utmost, gentle longing. In the ‘Villanelle’, with its fluid phrasing and its sophisticated harmonic scheme, she eloquently describes the undulating contours of the vocal line and lightly expresses the poetry’s springtime bliss. She has an interpretative range that can poignantly voice the veiled sentiments of ‘Au cimetière’, matching the orchestra in finding a dark, bleak tone for the poetry’s shadows and shimmering lights. She can fuel the rapture of ‘L’île inconnue’ and surmount the ecstatic heights on the phrase ‘Et j’arrive du paradis’ in ‘Le spectre de la rose’, preceding it with breathless excitement at the scent of ‘ce léger parfum’. This is a performance of Les nuits d’été that is all of a piece, entirely at one with Berlioz and Gautier, and distinguished by a singer, conductor and orchestra who are palpably of like interpretative mind.

In La mort de Cléopâtre Ticciati and the SCO energetically underpin the mounting tragedy in the orchestral introduction, accompanying Cargill’s anguished recitative with dynamic thrust. The shifts of temperament from explosive to reflective in the ensuing lyrical scene have a genuine sense of heartfelt angst, with the ‘Méditation’ gloriously showing Cargill’s affinity with the music and with its trajectory of mood. Cargill humanises Cleopatra’s woeful predicament, and the orchestra mirrors her vehemence and sorrow, her susceptibility and defiance. With the love scene from Roméo et Juliette played with a shrewd sense of unfolding drama and with a radiance of sonority, this is a disc that offers three contrasting facets of Berlioz’s output in performances of exhilarating stature.


June Gramophone Choices

Bruch� dVořáK Violin Concertos Julia Fischer vn zurich tonhalle orchestra / david zinman Decca 478 3544Dh ‘A spirited, buoyant performance of the Dvo∑ák Concerto that for much of the work’s duration wears an irresistible smile.’

BACh. LiSzt. SChUBERt Piano Works simon trpčeski pf Wigmore hall Live WhLiVE0058 ‘You know you are in safe hands, able to sit back and relax – except in the finale of the Wanderer Fantasy, when he has you on the edge of your seat.’

‘EnGLiSh RoYAL fUnERAL MUSiC’ Vox luminis / lionel meunier Ricercar RiC332 ‘You can really sense that the musicians are on a mission when a piece as outwardly unassuming as Morley’s In the midst of life can be shaped with such expressive power.’

shostaKoVich Cello Works emmanuelle Bertrand vc pascal amoyel pf BBc noW / pascal rophé harmonia Mundi hMC90 2142 ‘This is 100-per-cent emotionally truthful playing and I certainly wouldn’t say that about 100 per cent of recordings of the work.’

Berlioz Grande Messe des morts Barry Banks ten london philharmonic choir; lsc; lso / sir colin davis LSo Live LSo0729 ‘The acoustic is something to be reckoned with and it is striking to observe how careful Davis is to allow for the famous echo.’

RoSSini ‘Bel raggio’ aleksandra Kurzak sop artur ruciński bass-bar Warsaw chamber choir; sinfonia Varsovia / pier giorgio morandi Decca 478 3553Dh ‘A vivacious presence with graceful, finished phrasing and an apparently effortless coloratura technique.’

h A Y W o o D

: t h o M A S

p h o t o G r a p h y the sco, Karen cargill and robin ticciati recording

FrancK� r strauss Violin and Piano Works augustin dumay vn louis lortie pf onyx onYX4096 ‘The full, realistic sound of the recording, notably of Lortie’s bass register, allows the virtuoso character of much of the music to make its full impact.’

BRittEn Songs ian Bostridge ten sir antonio pappano pf Xuefei Yang hp EMi 433430-2 ‘Bostridge has acquired a richness of timbre that, combined with his control of vibrato, is invaluable in the Six Hölderlin Fragments.’

telemann ‘hoffnung des Wiedersehens’ dorothee mields sop l’orfeo Baroque orchestra / michi gaigg DhM 886697 90182-2 ‘Dorothee Mields’s recital reveals some fascinating obscurities that may not be familiar to even fully paid-up aficionados.’


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