Related Reviews
Herald Scotland
'...the orchestra brings fresh style and insight...a real ear-opener...The sound engineers at Linn capture every shimmering hue.'
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The Times
4 Stars
'This is Berlioz up close and personal, and wonderful to behold.'
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Infodad
'...very impressive indeed.'
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Opera News
'... she moves between soft-edged delicacy and a glamorous steeliness with ease...'
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Musica
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‘…l’ottima Scottish Chamber, ma certamente colpisce, in questo CD, il ricorso continuo a tinte astello, il rifiuto totale dell’enfasi, del canto spiegato e la ricerca della sobrieta`, dell’eleganza.’
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Limelight
‘Cargill’s Cleopâtre gives even Dame Janet a run for her money...a real revelation.’
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Limelight
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'I can’t imagine even the best chamber orchestra playing with such luxuriance and control.'
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AllMusic.com
'Cargill's marquee performance of Les nuits d'été is breathtaking.'
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American Record Guide
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MusicWeb International
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BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'
‘It’s an excellent display of the richness of her voice and the vocal and dynamic range. And the playing while the chamber scale sucks us into the heart of the poetry with the really clean, clear sound the Scottish Chamber Orchestra can produce.’
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International Record Review
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MusicWeb International
‘I was completely entranced…sounds excellent.’
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The Arts Desk
‘Robin Ticciati achieves exactly the right lightness, the delicacy, in a song cycle which should ideally delight as much as it moves. He’s well matched by mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill…Best of all is L’île inconnue; Cargill’s “Où voulez-vous aller?” is impossible to resist.’
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The Independent
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Sinfini Music
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Financial Times
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The Guardian
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'...wonderfully controlled and exquisitely shaded...'
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SA-CD.net
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'One does not need to have heard this work before (or to understand French) to appreciate the stopping of the beating heart rhythm to know what this symbolises.'
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The Guardian
'wonderfully controlled and exquisitely shaded'
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BBC Music Magazine
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'...contributes an air of freshness and immediacy which I greatly enjoyed.'
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The Sunday Times
[Cargil's] Nuits d'ete and Cleopatra suggest a Trojans Dido of stature in the making.
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AllMusic.com
'...this is one of the best recordings of Les nuits d'été available.'
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Berlioz Les nuits d'ete - SCO & Ticciati - The Times


03 May 2013
The Times
Geoff Brown
4 Stars

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.


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Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Berlioz: Les nuits d'eteBerlioz: Les nuits d'ete