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Berlioz: Harold in Italy; Les Francs - Juges; RÍverie et Caprice [CD]

Yoav Talmi Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Berlioz: Harold in Italy; Les Francs - Juges; RÍverie et Caprice + Berlioz: Cantatas - Herminie, Death of Cleopatra
Price For Both: £9.96

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Product details

  • Orchestra: San Diego Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Yoav Talmi
  • Composer: Hector Berlioz
  • Audio CD (2 Sep 1996)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00000143E
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,855 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Les francs-juges: Les Francs-Juges, Op. 3San Diego Symphony Orchestra12:29Album Only
Listen  2. Reverie et Caprice, Op. 8Igor Gruppman 8:49Album Only
Listen  3. Harold en Italie, Op. 16: I. Adagio (Harold in the Mountains. Scenes of Melancholy, Happiness and Joy)Rivka Golani15:08Album Only
Listen  4. Harold en Italie, Op. 16: II. Allegretto (March of the Pilgrims Singing the Evening Prayer)Rivka Golani 7:33£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Harold en Italie, Op. 16: III. Allegro Assai (Serenade of an Abruzzi Mountain-Dweller to his Mistress)Rivka Golani 6:50£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Harold en Italie, Op. 16: IV. Allegro Frenetico (Orgy of Brigands. Memories of Scenes Past)Rivka Golani11:52Album Only

Product Description

Harold en Italie, op. 16 - Les Francs-Juges, op. 3 - Rêverie et Caprice, op. 8 / Igor Gruppman, violon - Rivka Golani, alto - Orchestre Symphonique de San Diego - Yoav Talmi, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Harold. Forget what the pros say! 28 Feb 2011
By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Chastened, I am returning to this splendid Berlioz CD after allowing myself to be led astray. Reading Gramophone's database can be a bad habit. I was drawn towards other critically acclaimed versions by Davis and Gardiner, but am now returning to the Naxos and will trust my instincts in future.

A common complaint with Harolds is that the violist makes too 'soloistic' a role, too full-hearted or bravura where Harold is in essence an onlooker. Not only is there no such complaint here, by the slighlty recessed sound of the orchestra not only serves to make the ambience all the more dreamy, but it subtly points up our own distance as listeners at home, sitting in our armchairs as far away from experience as Harold on his travels.

The performance is ideally paced and very exciting in the latter stages of the outer movements. The inclusion of Reverie et Caprice is more than welcome. A truly beguiling and I think melancholic work for violin and orchestra, it deserves to be better known.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as the competition! 22 July 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is another "hidden gem" in the Naxos catalogue. Yoav Talmi and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra might not be a very well-known combination, but they have recorded several Berlioz discs for Naxos, all of which have merit.

This CD, containing "Harold in Italy" and two less important works, is very well played and the sonics are excellent, too. The viola is played by Rivka Golani and she is one of the world's leading viola players. She shines throughout, and the opening adagio is thrilling!

All good stuff and well-worth purchasing.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprise and delight 29 April 2001
Format:Audio CD
The 'Reverie and Caprice' is a somewhat slight curiosity, but the weird 'Francs-juges' overture and the imposing 'Harold in Italy' are given wonderful, vibrant and characterful performances, quite up to (and even beyond) the standard of other full-price recordings by better-known artistes. I look forward to hearing the other recordings in this Naxos/Berlioz series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant recordings of lesser-known Berlioz works 2 Dec 2004
By Matteo - Published on
Format:Audio CD
When these recordings were made back in the mid 1990's, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra was an excellent and vastly underrated ensemble in peak form. Bankruptcy forced a reorganization of the orchestra--one of the many testaments to this country's lack of appreciation for the fine and performing arts. Luckily the ensemble is playing again these days (known simply as the San Diego Symphony) though no longer under Yoav Talmi.

In these recordings, the orchestra works elegantly with the multi-layered orchestration that makes Berlioz so endlessly fascinating. It may take a couple of hearings in order to absorb all that Berlioz offers, and this disc definitely deserves to be heard more than once.

The good ol' fashioned overture to "Les Francs-Juges" may not live up to the more mature works of Berlioz that we've become used to, but it's nothing to dismiss either. The opening string passage is played with amazing delicacy and lightness of touch. The SDSO string section's wonderful work makes one wish this ensemble had recorded the orchestral works of Debussy or Ravel. Overall, Talmi paces the overture well. And while the energetic passages are handled well, I kept wanting a little more "oomph" to contrast with the quieter moments.

In the "Reverie et Caprice", the solo effort of SDSO concertmaster Igor Gruppman is delightful. Both orchestra and soloist aquite themselves nicely. Gruppman's sure hand as well as his lush tone and vibrato serve him well in Berlioz, a composer who seems to call for both grace and robustness.

Perhaps one of the quirkiest symphonies ever written, "Harold en Italie" is programmatic music at it's, well, most programmatic. Talmi and the SDSO, along with violist Rivka Golani, give us an elegant and technically masterful reading. Again, perhaps a little more Italianate warmth may have been in order--to match the story's Italian setting if nothing else.

To echo other comments on this conductor, Talmi's sense of pacing and his overall feel for Berlioz are first-rate. He elicits confident contributions from his orchestra and the effect is flawless execution.

This disc is recommendable for the genius of Berlioz and to hear an orchestra dispatch his music with finesse. Even though I would have wished for a little more fire in places, these recording are some of the finest in the French repertoire that I've heard on disc. Talmi and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra bring technical precision and clean, elegant sound to these works.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly light, unpretentious Harold in Italy 30 April 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format:Audio CD
It's hard to overpriase a CD that rejuvenates a piece for you, as this Talmi-led Harold in Italy did for me. Talmi is a proven Berlioz specialist, and where Munch was frenetic and reckless and Colin Davis romantic but contained, Talmi stands out as an elegant, quick-witted interpreter who relies on a light touch and mercurial rhythms. He and the Naxos engineers have made an intelligent decision in placing the solo viola back from the microphones rather than pretending that this soft-voiced, recessive instrument is larger than life. Here, the viola isn't treated as a virtuoso or even a star but first among equals, blending sweetly into the overall orchestral texture.

Rivka Golani's viola playing is violin-like; she goes for sweet tone and lyricism, dowplaying the instrument's melancholy side and thus making Byron's hero more upbeat than usual. Talmi is in full accord; the orchestral part is never ponderous or over-stated. I often felt I was in the world of the Queen Mab Scherzo, a refreshing change. So much so that I became a convert to a piece I've always found lugubrious and over-long.

There are more riveting accounts of the work (e.g., William Primrose's historic recordidngs under Beecham and Koussevitzky) but few that are this buoyant. The fillers, an alert, vivacious Francs-Juges Over. and an early rarity, the Reverie and Caprice for violin and orchestra, come off very well, too.
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