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Berlioz: Harold en Italie, La mort de Cléopâtre


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Valery Gergiev - conductor

Violist Antoine Tamestit, and mezzo-soprano, Karen Cargill join forces with the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, in the latest instalment of their Berlioz exploration.

Composed in 1834 at the suggestion of Paganini and later completed in Montmartre, Harold en Italie received its first performance at the Conservatoire de Paris later that year. “I wanted to make the viola a kind of melancholy dreamer” – Hector Berlioz. Taking inspiration from Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Harold en Italie is among the most poetic of Berlioz’s oeuvre, its ingenious use of solo viola charting the dreamy Harold’s wanderings throughout the Italian countryside,
and the characters encountered along the way.

Price: £7.99


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CD reviews

Album of the Week Mail on Sunday

Concert reviews

‘Star of the show was viola player Antoine Tamestit. An impeccable soloist in Harold in Italy by Berlioz, he projected its lyricism injecting just the right sort of colour to tell a highly effective story of Berlioz’s Italian journey.’ Scotsman

‘There is no sacrificing of the music’s Byronic aura, which is strengthened by the rich, burgundy timbre of Antoine Tamestit’s solo viola and the mellifluous lyricism and vitality of his playing.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Antoine Tamestit, the viola soloist, brought a strong, forthright personality to the hero of Harold en Italie, Berlioz’s tone-poem-cumconcerto loosely based on Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, and Gergiev found enough atmosphere for Harold in the mountains and the muted awe of the pilgrims’ march.’ Financial Times

‘Cargill sang with superb diction and a marvellously rich upper register. Cargill’s powerful portrayal of Cleopatra’s final moments was well
served here by some captivating orchestral playing.’

‘Karen Cargill gave it (Cleopatra cantata) with operatic declamation and high-octane free-flowing emotionalism, intense drama to the fore and, when required, lyrical contemplation.’


Valery Gergiev conductor
Antoine Tamestit
Karen Cargill
London Symphony Orchestra

Recording Details

SACD/digital LSO0760 (822231176022)

James Mallinson, producer

Classic Sound Ltd, engineering, mixing & mastering.

DSD recording, live at the Barbican, 1st & 12th November 2013

2.0 Stereo and multi-channel 5.1
Total playing time 63m 09s

Jewel case with clear tray. 24pp booklet. Notes in English, French and German. 

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