Related Reviews
Gramophone
Top Choice: 'Artistic discretion and emotional truth go hand in hand in this beautifully observed performance, with Berlioz's luminous orchestration and dramatic scheme perceptively articulated by Robin Ticciati and with a chorus and soloists who unerringly get to the music's heart.'
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Klassik
4½ Stars
,,Diese Intimität und Sensibilität setzen die Interpreten der vorliegenden Aufnahme bei hoher Spielkonzentration und einem Gespür für die elegante französische Melodik hervorragend um.''
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Classical Music Magazine
5 Stars
Editor's Choice: 'Ticciati directs a vibrant, unsentimental account of this enduring score, and is joined by a near-perfect cast...'
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Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
'This is a spectacular recording in sumptuous surround sound, and the orchestra and soloists are terrific in every way...'
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International Record Review
'Robin Ticciati’s new version…is sensitive and scrupulous, responsive to the subtleties of Berlioz’s score and the emotions of the participants.’
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Classical Ear
‘Each of the vocal soloists is excellent, whether narrating or portraying a character, and the good people that inhabit the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and its Choir respond sensitively and, when required, dramatically to Ticciati’s carefully plotted course…Fantastique!’
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De Volkskrant
4 Stars
,,Met zijn fijne gevoel voor timing en een zorgvuldig gedoseerde koor- en orkestklank lukt het hem een fraai midden te vinden tussen een meeslepende, theatrale ervaring en een ingetogen oratoriumsfeer.''
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Infodad
'The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra plays this music very well indeed...The four soloists are all very fine.'
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Choir & organ
4 Stars
‘[Ticciati] obtains excellent results from them, and his phenomenal chorus, in idiomatic French, catch much of Berlioz’s tender response to the narrative of Christ’s early childhood.’
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The Telegraph
'As the piece proceeds, he negotiates its pacing, its contours, its shifts of emotional emphasis with an assured, evocative hand...'
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SA-CD.net
5 Stars
'...sounds so French and oozes with idiomatic Berlioz...'
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MusicWeb International
'This is a most welcome release which further enhances the credentials of Robin Ticciati, especially in Berlioz.'
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AllMusic
4½ Stars
'... good for listeners who crave a bit of lushness...this audiophile recording is worth hearing for its subtlety and beauty.'
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Financial Times
‘The orchestra and choir respond to the conductor’s direction with sensitivity: the angelic choral contributions are a highlight.’
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Pizzicato
5 Stars
'...delicate orchestral sound, homogeneous choir singing and a fantastic quartet.'
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The Arts Desk
‘Glorious music, impeccably performed and magnificently recorded.’
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BBC Music Magazine
4½ Stars
'Ticciati's conducting is warm and vivid, and his textures translucent...'
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Gramophone
'...full of honeyed tones and an occasional exotic splash.'
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The Observer
4 Stars
'...this new [recording] is beautifully fluid, flexible and transparent...'
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The Times
4 Stars
'Past performances have already established Robin Ticciati as a sterling Berlioz conductor...this latest Linn release, with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Radio Choir, wins him another laurel.'
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The Telegraph
5 Stars
'... a first-rate, affecting performance and a timely seasonal release.'
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Robin Ticciati - Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra - Berlioz: L'enfance du Christ - PS Audio


25 January 2017
PS Audio
Lawrence Schenbeck

Hector Berlioz (1803–69) was no novice by the time he created L’enfance du Christ. Well past the sensational premiere of the Symphonie fantastique and his triumph with the Prix de Rome—something he won only on his fourth try—he began work on L’enfance in 1850, by accident. Arriving at a party at which card-playing was the primary amusement, he gladly accepted his friend Pierre Duc’s suggestion that he spend the evening creating a musical autograph. On the spot, Berlioz began to sketch the now-famous “Shepherds’ Farewell.” Later that year, casting around for material to fill out a concert program, he decided to present this music as a newly discovered manuscript from an obscure 17th-century French composer, “Pierre Ducré.” The trick worked: everyone praised it. One critic called the music far superior to anything Berlioz himself had written. Eventually he completed an entire segment, “The Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt,” and performed it in Germany as his own work. Enthusiastic supporters encouraged him to create something still more substantial, and so he did. In 1854 the whole triptych (Herod’s Dream, The Flight, and The Arrival at Saïs) was performed in Paris—and acclaimed. Feeling vindicated and creatively reborn, Berlioz decided to try larger projects again, including a monumental setting of Virgil’s Aeneid that would become Les Troyens. The central narrative of L’enfance seems sadly contemporary: a young Middle Eastern couple flee their homeland when threatened by a murderous tyrant. Arriving in Egypt, Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus are denied shelter by natives but finally taken in by a compassionate émigré family “born in Lebanon, in Syria.” Thus, as Berlioz put it in his libretto, “it came to pass that by an unbeliever our Savior was saved.” I’ve long admired classic recordings of this charming post-Nativity story as led by Charles Munch (RCA, 1956) and by Colin Davis a bit later. Among more recent recorded efforts, that of Robin Ticciati and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (Linn CKD 440; 2 SACDs) is a strong contender. Recorded in crystalline high-res sound from live performances, we are placed in front-stall seats that provide every nuance, from the buzzy warmth of the cellos to a delicate flutes-and-harp trio that enlivens part 3. (As a child, Berlioz had mastered both flute and guitar.) Producer-engineer Philip Hobbs strikes a nice balance: you’ll hear the choir rise and sit, but you’ll never feel uncomfortably close to soprano Véronique Gens (Mary) or bass Alastair Miles (Herod/Ishmaelite Father). Kudos to Linn also, for a gorgeous 60-page text booklet with musicological notes and a perceptive essay on “Theological Perspective” that ranges much further than “theology.”
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Related Links

Alastair MilesAlastair Miles
Robin TicciatiRobin Ticciati
Swedish Radio Symphony OrchestraSwedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Veronique GensVeronique Gens
Yann BeuronYann Beuron
Berlioz: L'enfance du ChristBerlioz: L'enfance du Christ