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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 15 Mar. 2011
Normally I greatly admire the work of Sir Colin Davis, not least in Berlioz, but having owned this recording since it was first issued and despite having listened to it a good half dozen times I find it curiously unsatisfying, all the more so as the work is a great favourite of mine. None of the soloists is particularly distinguished either as regards their French or their characterisation but that is not so important in this work. More important, the choir doesn't sound particularly involved and, much more seriously, neither does the orchestra. Davis's reading seems very pallid and anaemic: it lacks rhythmic acuity, excitement, passion and his customary verve and feeling for orchestral colour.

The situation is not improved by the very dry, shallow acoustic of the Barbican Centre. Sir Colin's earlier versions with the LSO and a later one with the Vienna Philharmonic are both preferable - assuming copies are still available. Oddly, there aren't that many versions to choose from. For a very good bargain version, there is Riccardo Muti's with the Philadelphia. This comes with a considerable bonus in the form of "Les Nuits d'Eté" sung by Janet Baker, accompanied by Sir John Barbirolli.

The recording in both works is richer and with a deeper sound-stage than the LSO version, particularly the main work, made more recently. There is more passion and drama than with Davis and the soloists have more personality. Their French is also better. "Les Nuits d'Eté" is my favourite Berlioz work and Baker is outstanding: her French is perfectly enunciated and she colours and shades her voice perfectly to capture the mood of each song. The result is a very moving experience.
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Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette
Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette by Sir Colin Davis
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