Robin Ticciati cements his reputation as an outstanding Berliozian with his latest recording,Berlioz:Les nuits d été,which includes excerpts from Roméo & Juliette and La Mort de Cléopâtre.A pupil of Sir Simon Rattle and the great Berliozian Sir Colin Davis,Robin's reputation as one of this generations best conductors was assured when he was announced as the next music director of Glyndebourne,taking over from Vladimir Jurowski in 2014.Named one of the top ten young conductors on the verge of greatness by Gramophone Magazine,Robin delivers fresh insights and vivid colours into this luminous work.The recording features Kathleen Ferrier prize-winning mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill,who has sung at the Metropolitan Opera,New York and won acclaim as Cleopatra,a role she reprises here...the core of this stunning concert was a shattering,heart-rending performance by Cargill in awesome voice.(The Herald).The works of Berlioz have featured prominently in Ticciati's programmes with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra since he became their principal conductor in 2009.
Berlioz played with chamber forces? The combination already worked well in last year's recording of the Symphonie fantastique with Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.Now lightning has struck twice.The Berlioz repertoire chosen here by the SCO's principal conductor may be on a smaller scale we get two vocal jewels,Les Nuits d été and La mort de Cléopâtre,plus the orchestral love scene from the dramatic symphony Roméo et Juliette.But the virtues that lit up that Fantastique remain:piercing clarity of colour and texture;heightened drama;increased tenderness and intimacy.This is Berlioz up close and personal,and wonderful to behold.Berlioz performed with love,too. Over four seasons with the orchestra,Ticciati has formed a marked rapport both with composer and players;I'd buy this CD for the woodwinds phrasings and colours alone,and they occupy just one part of Berlioz's startling kaleidoscope.Luckily for his upcoming job as Glyndebourne Festival's music director,the 30 year-old is equally sensitive to the human voice,and he guides his soloist wisely.The Scottish mezzo soprano Karen Cargill,one of the orchestra's past Artists in Association,is another reason to buy this disc.Dark,mobile,richly emotional,her voice finds a near-perfect showcase in the dramatic plaints of the Cleopatra cantata,Berlioz's bid for the 1829 Prix de Rome,and the subtler sorrows of the later Nuits d été.The close of Le spectre de la rose in that cycle so sad,so fragile makes you clutch at your heart.There are multiple other expressive beauties in these thoroughly well-prepared yet fresh performances,delivered with an accent just a few drops short of the authentic French perfume.Inbetween the vocal pieces comes the remarkable Roméo et Juliette love scene,music of the most passionate yearning,given extra lustre by the orchestra's intimate forces,sympathetically captured throughout in the recording produced and engineered by Philip Hobbs.The good news is that the SCO has now extended Ticciati's contract until at least 2018.Cue for more Berlioz,I'd say..Geoff Brown - 3/5/13 --The Times