Related Reviews
Hi-Fi News
4½ Stars
'...the Linn has more dramatic light and shade, and a natural concert hall balance.'
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The Absolute Sound
'Robin Ticciati is among the most promising conductors of his generation, and he leads the sprawling work with dramatic purpose.'
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American Record Guide
'Ticciati...shows here again that he is a young conductor to watch.'
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ConcertoNet.com
'Sa direction puissante et lyrique, engagée mais sans jamais sombrer dans les effets, fait magnifiquement respirer cette musique.'
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L'Avant Scène Opéra
«Ticciati a quelque chose à nous dire.»
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Limelight
4½ Stars
'Robin Ticciati has proven himself heir to Colin Davis with his Berlioz series on Linn and this last instalment is, if anything, even finer.'
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InfoDad
4 Stars
'Ticciati, who has shown himself an excellent interpreter of Berlioz, once again proves adept at managing his forces and exploring the intricacies and the emotional impact of the music.'
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Pizzicato
4 Stars
„Unter der Leitung von Robin Ticciati gelingt auch hier eine technisch ausgefeilte und musikalisch tragende Interpretation...Die Gesangssolisten bereichern die Aufnahme.“
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Crescendo
4½ Stars
« De fait, il parvient, grâce à une baguette souple et expressive, à construire des climats si justes que l'oreille vit la tragédie de l'intérieur. Pour chaque épisode, le soin porté aux et dans les pupitres de l'orchestre ainsi que le choix des dynamiques et des couleurs permettent à Ticciati de développer un travail sonore et d'architecture conséquent. Le chœur présente lui aussi de belles caractéristiques : texte intelligible, intonation qui ne fait jamais défaut, homogénéité, couleurs... »
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MusicWeb International
'Robin Ticciati has a genuine feel for the music of Berlioz and there's freshness and vitality in his conducting. This is a distinguished addition to Robin Ticciati's Berlioz series. More please.'
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Classica
'On entend rarement la Grande fête chez Capulet jouée de manière aussi chorégraphique, avec la légèreté et le sens du mouvement propres au ballet.'
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'This is a marvellous set, the finest Roméo et Juliette to appear for several years, and worthy, in very different ways, to stand alongside illustrious competition from the likes of Sir Colin Davis and Sir John Eliot Gardiner.'
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Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
'The musical conception and the performance certainly deserve your consideration: there's youthful brio in the introductory Combats - Tumulte, outstanding for me is Swedish mezzo Katija Dragojevic, whose very first utterances shape the bittersweet narrative that she unfolds and bass Alastair Miles bringing all of the command, mingled with deep regret, that should inform the role of Friar Laurence.'
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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
'Robin Ticciati has proved to be a special Berlioz interpreter, and offers an individual, youthful reading driven by crisp detail and translucent textures and Berlioz's vital rhythmic spring.'
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Classic FM
'What makes this issue competitive is Robin Ticciati...It sounds really well.'
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BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'
'You've probably guessed by now, this is the one of these three newcomers [compared with Gergiev and Andrew Davis's recordings] that I've enjoyed the most for its freshness and vivacity; the way Berlioz's extraordinary orchestra colours spring to life and the intimacy and detail of the Linn recording.'
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Gramophone
'Ticciati from the first, explosive bars finds tauter drama than either [Gergiev or Davis]...'
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The Observer
4 Stars
'...orchestrally superb...Katija Dragojevic is a gorgeously warm mezzo.'
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The Sunday Times
Album of the Week: '...virtuosic and intense string-playing...'
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The Times
'This festival performance was notable for its elegance, even restraint — a feat in itself given how much Berlioz throws into the stew.'
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Robin Ticciati & SRSO - Berlioz: Romeo et Juliette - Audio Video Club of Atlanta


01 January 2017
Audio Video Club of Atlanta
Phil Muse

Robin Ticciati conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Swedish Radio Choir in a performance of the complete Roméo et Juliette by Hector Berlioz that reveals both the beauties and the warts of this uneven work. First the warts, then the beauties.... Berlioz’ basic problem was that he couldn’t decide whether he was writing a symphony with voices or an opera, and his indecisiveness shows badly. His biggest difficulty, surprisingly, was in portraying Romeo and Juliet themselves. Astonishingly, he made no attempt to paraphrase the original dialogues of Shakespeare’s “star-cross’d” lovers, but instead chose to narrate the events of their meeting and the Balcony Scene, with which we’re all familiar, instead of letting R & J speak for themselves. Consequently, they are never allowed to become real, living characters. Furthermore, the libretto (presumably Belioz’ own) is filled with the sort of impossibly exalted sentiments and perfumed essences that have given French poetry a bad name. The problem with most of the world’s love poetry is that it is, ultimately, pretty banal. Love, in the last analysis, is an inarticulate feeling, rather than something that can be expressed precisely in words. In this play, Shakespeare’s love poetry proved to be the happy exception. So why did Berlioz choose to ignore it in favor of his own poetic drivel? The listener who is familiar with only the usual Four Scenes from Roméo and Juliette is completely unaware aware of these issues. In fact, you can use your home listening system’s remote to access only those tracks that make for a very satisfying purely orchestral suite: in the present instance, Romeo Alone, Feast of the Capulets, and Scène d’amour (Garden Scene), on CD1, Tr. 5-7 and the Queen Mab Scherzo, Romeo at the Vault of the Capulets, and Death of the Lovers, on CD2, Tr. 1, 3, and 4. These scenes capture the essence of the love story and its tragic ending, and are all well-rendered in the present recording. Curiously, Berlioz favored the solo male voices in this work over the female vocalist (the wonderful voice of mezzo-soprano Katija Dragojevic, as Juliette, is sadly wasted here). Tenor Andrew Staples is appropriately arch in the wickedly scathing aria taken from Mercutio’s “Queen Mab” speech, the theme of which is the illusory nature of love. And – surprise of surprises! – the best arias and the choicest dialogue are given to Friar Lawrence (bass Alistair Miles) in the Great Finale (Tr. 5-7) on CD2, where he chastises and reconciles the feuding families. This final scene, which breathes all the excitement and drama of grand opera, is a complete volte-face of the narrative-ridden earlier half of the symphony. Which again makes us wonder: just what did Hector Berlioz have in mind?
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Related Links

Alastair MilesAlastair Miles
Andrew StaplesAndrew Staples
Katija DragojevicKatija Dragojevic
Robin TicciatiRobin Ticciati
Swedish Radio Symphony OrchestraSwedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Berlioz: Romeo et JulietteBerlioz: Romeo et Juliette