Hector Berlioz - L'Enfance du Christ, Méditation religieuse, La Mort d'Ophélie, Sara la baigneuse, La Mort de Cléopâtre (1994)
English Chamber Orchestra; Goldsborough Orchestra; conducted by Sir Colin Davis
Elsie Morison, John Cameron, Joseph Rouleau, Peter Pears, Anne Pashley
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 651 Mb (incl 5%) | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 352 Mb (incl 5%) | Scans included
Genre: Classical, Choral | Label: Decca | # 443 461-2 | Time: 02:20:15
This is a delightful recording from a conductor more closely allied than any other to Berlioz's music. With Berlioz the devil is always in the detail; he was an extraordinary orchestrator and capable of writing unidiomatically for instruments–especially the woodwinds–in order to get exactly the sound he wanted. Or rather, sounds, for the whole texture is made up of many layers. Davis understands this as if by instinct, and draws some beautiful playing from the instrumentalists without ever losing sight of the whole picture. It has been said that the French style of phrasing is all foreplay and no climax: the singers bring this teasing quality to their long, flowing lines but with a charmingly English home-counties blush too. Elsie Moris's light tone is a perfect match for Peter Pears' cool, silvery voice in this respect - and the choir too makes a good full sound without ever getting too heavy. The two discs also include some other gems from the pen of this most idiosyncratic of composers.