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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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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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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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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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 - Gramophone


09 December 2013
Gramophone
Malcolm Riley

How remarkable it is that this perfectly formed 90-minute oratorio should have grown from such an unassuming seed - the celebrated Shepherd's Farewell chorus - which Berlioz first penned in 1850. That miniature gem is at the heart of this wondrous work, which Brahms adored and which Debussy regarded (rightly) as Berlioz's masterpiece. It is good to hear such a persuasive interpretation (recorded for Swedish Radio) of Berlioz's sacred trilogy, a work which came about despite the composer's fragile melancholy, caused by the Parisian's critical drubbing of The Damnation of Faust. Thankfully, their response to L'enfance's 1854 premiere was rapturous.

Composed to his own text, Berlioz recounts the tale of Herod's dream of a child who will overthrow him and of Mary and Joseph being warned by angels to flee Egypt. Part 2 is their flight into Egypt and the trilogy culminates with their safe arrival at Sais. It is one of his melodically richest scores, coloured with a modest orchestral palette, full of honeyed tones and an occasional exotic splash.

Ticciati scored a critical success with performances of this work in Scotland in 2010. He draws equally tender playing from his Swedish band, securing perfect tuning of the opening woodwind chords and nurturing the pared-down chamber scoring. This leaves him a spare notch of expression for moments such as Herod's frenzied paranoia in the Marche nocturne, which is further enhanced by a curious wispy, ‘sweeping' wheeze...Ticciati avoids any longeurs or clumsy transitions between the tableaux, taking the Shepherd's Farewell at a true allegretto, thereby making the slower, final verse all the more poignant.

Joseph and Mary's lullaby-duet ‘O mon cher fils' (with Stephan Loges and Veronique Gens) manages to be both serene and sumptuous, and Alastair Miles clearly relishes his reprise of the role of Herod, previously recorded for Matthew Best's Corydon forces in 1994 (Hyperion, 12/95)...The highlight, though, is the exquisite singing of the lady-angels, accompanied by harmonium, who float magically in the distant part of the evocative sound stage.


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