Les Siecles – Hector Berlioz: Harold en Italie, Les Nuits d’ete (2019) [FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Les Siècles – Hector Berlioz: Harold en Italie, Les Nuits d’été (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz  | Time – 01:10:18 minutes | 633 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © harmonia mundi

A new aesthetic calls for new forms: such is the challenge the composer set for himself in the two works presented here. In Les Nuits d’été, Berlioz pioneered, well before Mahler and Ravel, a song cycle for voice and orchestra. In Harold in Italy, scored for large orchestra and solo viola, he experimented with the symphonic genre. These period-instrument performances by Les Siècles, led by François-Xavier Roth, with violist Tabea Zimmermann, also feature Stéphane Degout in the vocal cycle, heard here in the composer’s own version for baritone. File under: out of the ordinary.

“Berlioz orchestrated Les Nuits d’été op 7 for different voice types, though they are usually done by female singers, so there is no reason per se why they can’t be tackled by men ; tenors have done them fairly frequently in the past. On this recording, paired with Harold en Italie, a male voice extends the idea of a “hero” bravely venturing forth. In any case, Stéphane Degout has the range and finesse. Indeed, a stronger, deeper voice highlights the punching rhythms in “Villanelle”, and brings out the erotic allure in the line “Et dis-moi de ta voix si douce :’Toujours’.” The resonance of Degout’s timbre also works well with the more elaboarate orchestration of “Le spectre de la Rose”, which includes prominent parts for cello, clarinet, flute and harp. Berlioz orchestrated “Sur les lagunes” for baritone, so the fit between voice and the flowing “water” sounds in the orchestra. A soaring “Ah ! sans amour s’en aller sur la mer !”. “Absence” is followed by a very good “Au Cimetière – Clair de Lune” where Degout restrains the inherent power in his voice, suggesting mystery. A stylish “L’île inconnue”, further proof that it is not so much voice type that makes these songs work, but artistry.” (Anne Ozorio, www.operatoday.com)

1. Harold en Italie, Op. 16, H. 68: 1. Harold aux montagnes. Scènes de mélancolie, de bonheur et de joie. Adagio (Live) 15:14
2. Harold en Italie, Op. 16, H. 68: 2. Marche de pèlerins chantant la prière du soir. Allegretto (Live) 07:51
3. Harold en Italie, Op. 16, H. 68: 3. Sérénade d’un montagnard des Abbruzes à sa maîtresse. Allegro assai (Live) 05:58
4. Harold en Italie, Op. 16, H. 68: 4. Orgie de brigands. Souvenirs des scènes précédentes. Allegro frenetico (Live) 11:37
5. Les Nuits d’été, Op. 7, H. 81B: 1. Villanelle, H. 82 02:12
6. Les Nuits d’été, Op. 7, H. 81B: 2. Le Spectre de la rose, H. 83 06:40
7. Les Nuits d’été, Op. 7, H. 81B: 3. Sur les lagunes, Lamento, H. 84 05:43
8. Les Nuits d’été, Op. 7, H. 81B: 4. Absence, H. 85 05:45
9. Les Nuits d’été, Op. 7, H. 81B: 5. Au cimetière, Clair de lune, H. 86 05:41
10. Les Nuits d’été, Op. 7, H. 81B: 6. L’Île inconnue, H. 87 03:37

Stephane Degout, baritone
Tabea Zimmermann, viola
Les Siecles
Francois-Xavier Roth, conductor



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