Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Berlioz, Sir Colin Davis, Staatskapelle Dresden ‎– Overtures

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

This week we resume our Tuesday Blog post-summer hiatus with a Cover 2 Cover playlist that serves as our Berlioz Year contribution, marking as many did the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death.

Berlioz’s compositions represent the epitome of the romantic period, sometimes with epic works, sometimes with works that explore the complexity of human emotions – most notably his own struggles within his relationships. No doubt, the short set of overtures proposed today put all of this in full display.

Among the most renowned defenders of the Berlioz repertoire, outside of the conductors and interpreters raised in the French musical tradition, we can count on Sir Colin Davis. According to the excellent Hector Berlioz website Davis discovered Berlioz independently for himself, and went on to develop his own distinctive approach to the composer and his music. The discovery began in 1951, when as a professional clarinetist Davis played in a performance of La Fuite en Égypte conducted by Roger Desormière. One of his early concerts to feature music by Berlioz was given at the Royal Festival Hall on 16 April 1959, when he conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra in an excerpt from Roméo et Juliette. In the early 1960s he conducted La Damnation de Faust, Roméo and concert performances of Les Troyens and Benvenuto Cellini with the amateur Chelsea Opera Group. Since those early years of his career as a conductor, Sir Colin has been a champion of Berlioz at home and abroad; he has conducted and recorded more performances of Berlioz than any previous conductor. His Berlioz cycle of recordings with Philips includes almost all the works of the composer that require a conductor, except for a number of shorter vocal works, and many of these he has recorded more than once (for example, many of the Berlioz overtures heard on today’s playlist were part of that early LSO/Philips cycle, and some were later redone with the same orchestra in the 2000’s on their LSO Live label).

In my personal record collection, I own a pair of recordings featuring Davis conducting Berlioz with Staatskapelle Dresden – this one and a performance of the Requiem Mass which I once featured on a Friday montage a few years back.
The playlist ios made up of both concert overtures (like the Roman Carnival and the Corsair) and some overtures to larger woirs (like Beatrice and Benedict and Benvenuto Cellini). Missing, I’m afraid, is the Rob Roy overture – which was also missing from the earlier LSO set. As usual, the Dresden orchestra shines as a fine instrument under Sir Colin’s very capable hands.


Label: RCA Red Seal ‎– 82876-65839 2, BMG Classics ‎– 82876-65839 2
Series: RCA Red Seal Classic Library –
Format: CD, Reissue, Remastered

Discogs - https://www.discogs.com/Berlioz-Sir-...lease/11304894

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