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William Berger - Scottish Chamber Orchestra - Hommage a Trois - Early Music Review

15 February 2014
Early Music Review
Andrew Benson-Wilson

I have been impressed by William Berger's live singing (and acting) as he raged, melted and burnt and sang his way across the Styx...this disc is dedicated to musical extracts reflecting various operatic Lotharios, hedonists, lovers and jokers. A Ménage rather than Hommage is suggested by the semi-naked photograph of a gleeful Berger in bed with a similarly clad man and woman (McGegan and Sampson?) reinforcing the image that the Guardian reviewer has of Berger as a 'heart-throb baritone' and this as a 'discreetly sexy disc'. Discreet is not the word for Haydn's 'Quel tuo visetto amabile' (from Orlando paladina) where Carolyn Sampson to the climatic conclus elicits little gasps from Berger as she leads in when 'the horse and rider cannot be stopped'. Indeed it is the Haydn extracts that were the most interesting for me, along with Cimarosa's comic monologue of the 'Maestro di Cappella' berating his orchestra.

The singing from Berger (and Sampson) is impressive without being overdone, and McGegan shows his skills at bringing a classical idiom to modern instrument orchestras.
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Carolyn SampsonCarolyn Sampson
Nicholas McGeganNicholas McGegan
Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
William BergerWilliam Berger
Hommage a TroisHommage a Trois