Five essential works by Berlioz

We choose the best pieces by the outlandish romantic

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Five essential works by Berlioz
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Les Troyens

Berlioz’s greatest, most grandiose opera is full of drama, weird and wonderful orchestrations and vocal magic.

Recommended recording:
Ben Heppner, Michelle DeYoung, Petra Lang, Sara Mingardo, Peter Mattei, Stephen Milling, Kenneth Tarver, LSO & Chorus/Colin Davis
LSO Live LSO0010

 

 

Symphonie fantastique

Music’s first great tone poem is an advanced work, considering it was written only three years after Beethoven’s death.

Recommended recording:
London Classical Players/Roger Norrington
Virgin 628 5792

 

 

Grande Messe des morts

Berlioz wasn’t much of a believer, but this 80-minute belter certainly God-fearing – 16 timpani, four antiphonal brass bands, more than 100 strings and 100 voices.

Recommended recording:
Peter Schreier, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch
DG 477 7561

 

 

Nuits d’été

This attractive song cycle, setting the poetry of Gautier, originally written for baritone or mezzo and piano, has since been rearranged for soprano and orchestra.

Recommended recording:
Régine Crespin (soprano), L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet
Decca 475 712

 

 

La damnation de Faust

Setting Goethe’s poem Faust, this large-scale oratorio is written for orchestra,
solo voices and chorus.

Recommended recording:
Janet Baker, Nicolai Gedda, Paris Opéra Chorus, Orchestre de Paris & LSO/Prêtre & Gibson
EMI 381 4932

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