Related Reviews
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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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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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.com
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.'
more >>

Robin Ticciati - Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra - Berlioz: L'enfance du Christ - Audiophile Audition


27 February 2014
Audiophile Audition
Steven Ritter
4 Stars

Here is a late Christmas entry, but with recordings like this better late than never. With all due respect to the reigning conductorial wunderkind of the moment, Gustavo Dudamel, who is certainly getting all the press, as fine as he is I don't think he has a thing on Robin Ticciati, another up-and-coming youngster (now 30) who is making a big splash everywhere he goes. He has just completed his fifth year as head of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and begins as director at Glyndebourne this year, which should prove quite exciting. He counts Colin Davis and Simon Rattle as his mentors, and is certainly on track to equal those illustrious men, especially in his ongoing Berlioz series, where he might just surpass Colin Davis when all is said and done. 

Strangely, the genesis of Berlioz's sacred triptych began when he was at a party in 1850, playing cards, which he detested. Someone asked him to inscribe an album, on which he put a four-part organ andantino. This small little signing became the basis for one of his most popular and enduring works, the Nativity of Christ, though it would be some time until its completion. The composer had been in a bit of a funk ever since Damnation of Faust was not received as well as he had hoped, and for a number of years was really known only as a sharp-tongued critic and librarian of the Paris Conservatory. It was not until 1854 that the work received its premiere, and to great acclaim. Gone were the bombastic moments of Faust, and especially Fantastic Symphony which had launched his career 24 years earlier, and most surprising was his sincerity, replete with devotion in a work of unparalleled piety. It ranks among the most tender music he ever penned, and stands as a landmark of Nineteenth century devotional music, despite the composer's own rather murky convictions about his faith-we aren't really sure where he stood in such things as it seems he was constantly evolving his beliefs.

This is a spectacular recording in sumptuous surround sound, and the orchestra and soloists are terrific in every way, though the competition in the more classic recordings is formidable and probably still stand. Linn was good enough to give Ticciati a wonderful Mary in Veronique Gens, and the three men are hardly her inferiors in a finely wrought, beautifully paced production. But this is a more modern take in terms of less vibrato and a leaner soundscape, so those still attached to the dreamier side of this score won't want to be without Cluytens and yes, Davis.


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Robin TicciatiRobin Ticciati
Swedish Radio Symphony OrchestraSwedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Veronique GensVeronique Gens
Berlioz: L'enfance du ChristBerlioz: L'enfance du Christ