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In a very short time, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has become one of the most sought-after young conductors in the world, popular with orchestras and audiences alike. Recently named as Music Director Designate of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he succeeded Valery Gergiev as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008. He is also Chief Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
For the first of four projected discs with BIS, Nézet-Séguin and his Rotterdam players have recorded Hector Berlioz’ masterpiece Symphonie fantastique, in a full-blooded and luxurious performance which at the same time respects the work’s classical proportions
The work is here followed by the ‘lyrical scene’ Cléopâtre (often referred to as La Mort de Cléopâtre), composed shortly before as Berlioz’ entry in the competition for the prestigious Prix de Rome.
Performing the part of Cleopatra is the electrifying soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci in one of her rare appearances on disc.
"He [Yannick Nézet-Séguin] makes the Rotterdam Orchestra sound word-class.” The Times
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
I. Reveries: Largo - Passions: Allegro agitato e appassionato assai
II. Un Bal (Valse): Allegro non troppo
III. Scene aux Champs: Adagio
IV. Marche au Supplice: Allegretto non troppo
V. Songe d'une Nuit du Sabbat: Larghetto - Allegro
Hector Berlioz: La mort de Cleopatre
Recitative: C'en est donc fait! ma honte est assuree
Meditation: Grands Pharaons, nobles Lagides
25th February 2011
“This a strong, clean-cut performance of the Symphonie fantastique...blessed with lucid playing that mirrors the translucency of Berlioz’s scoring. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts with rhythmic punch and, in the Scène aux champs, has the measure of the rustic tranquillity...Antonacci sings with thrilling intensity.”
“You'll hear things here all too routinely buried by others. Anna Caterina Antonacci's vocal heft and dramatic instincts help unlock the anguish of Cléopâtre in the symphony's ideal companion piece....First-rate surround sound adds to this recording's lasting appeal.”
“[an] expressive, operatic reading of the Fantastique...He's not afraid of violence, noise or audience-rousing codas - try the end of the first movement or the sweep of the ball...The fill-up is gorgeous enough to make purchase obligatory.”
7th April 2011
“his Fantastique is wonderful...the best of it is almost mind-bending in its hallucinatory vividness – the last two movements have rarely sounded more weird – and the whole thing captures the sense of self-dramatising Romantic shamelessness that lurks behind it. Ultimately, then, a very fine performance.”
“one hears that what Nézet-Séguin offers (aided by a superlatively airy, open, yet richly resonant recording) is the orchestral equivalent of a Peter Hall staging - with a focus entirely on the text itself, not its extra-musical 'narrative', and with no whipped-up histrionics, just apt tempos and pinpoint placing of each note and accent.”