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In the autumn of 1827, Hector Berlioz witnessed a performance of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (with Harriet Smithson in the role of Juliet). The composer later wrote of this experience: “I will marry this woman and base my greatest symphony on this drama”. Berlioz kept his word (on both counts), but the resulting “symphony” baffled contemporary audiences. Even today, Berlioz's hybrid operatic-symphony has failed to find a lasting place in the repertoire, owing primarily to the impracticalities of its performance. All the more a pity, since in the hands of gifted operatic maestro, Sylvain Camberling, Romeo et Juliette lives up to its promise as Berlioz's GREATEST score.
Hector Berlioz: Romeo et Juliette, Op. 17
I. Prologue: Choral Recitative
I. Prologue: Verses - Recitative and Scherzetto
II. Romeo alone
II. Tranquil night
II. Queen Mab, or, the Dream Fairy (Scherzo)
III. Juliet's funeral procession
III. Romeo at the vault of the Capulets
Olivier Messiaen: L'Ascension
I. Majesty of Christ asking His father for His glory
II. Serene Alleluia of a soul yearning for Heaven
III. Alleluia on the trumpet, Alleluia on the cymbal
IV. Prayer of Christ ascending to His Father
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