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Cat. No. CHAN 10416 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10416 - Berlioz: Le Carnaval romain/ Helene/Lelio
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Available From: 01 June 2007
Of all the major works of Hector Berlioz, the monodrama Lélio, part II of the Symphonie Fantastique is surprisingly one of the least known works. Yet during Berlioz’ lifetime, Lélio was the greatest popular success he had with the Parisian public. Here the Danish National Symphony Orchestra performs the only available recording of this rare, yet extraordinary and seductive piece. This semi-theatrical work combines music and monologues to express the idea of returning to life after a profound traumatic experience. The link between Symphonie Fantastique was clearly inextricable in Berlioz’s mind, showing the progression from despair to hope which the pieces signified. The work consists of six separate compositions interspersed with dramatic monologues, and they reflect Berlioz’s most passionate concerns – friendship, love, Shakespeare, and the healing power of music. Where Symphonie fantastique was driven by the traumas Miss Smithson, a famous actress of the time (who would become his wife), Lélio was inspired by the dawning of a new love with Camille Moke, after he had finally broken with Harriet. Berlioz worked on the text of the work, which was full of quotations from various letters he had written as well as influenced by literary giants such as Goethe and Shakespeare. Lélio embodies the whole Romantic Movement in one work of art, and is one of the earliest attempts to fuse drama and music and is a testimony to the trials and tribulations, crises and renewals of the Romantic hero in general and is a very important work to be added to the catalogue.

Coupled with Lélio are two equally powerful and important works: the delightful choral and orchestral revision of Hélène and the popular overture La Carnaval romain which has always been a concert favourite.

This new recording is sure to revive the popularity of this incredible, weighty piece and the unique coupling withLa Carnaval romain and Hélène makes for a delightful disc of Berlioz’s rarer orchestral works.

From the work’s disparate elements conductor Thomas Dausgaard manages to create a coherent whole, leading the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, of which he is the chief conductor. Sune Hjerrild is elegant in the ‘Chant de bonheur’, and Gert Henning… sings effortlessly, even up to high C sharp. Jean-Phillipe Lafont, wonderfully robust in the ‘Chanson des brigands’, is also assigned the narration, which he delivers with both sensitivity and relish.
International Record Review

…perhaps the finest of the lot, with playing that sparkles, and conducting from Thomas Dausgaard that captures both the energy and idiosyncrasies of Berwald’s creative imagination.
The Telegraph

Reviews of previous releases from Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra:
“…performed with startling precision by Dausgaard and the DNRSO…”

The Observer on CHAN 10303


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