Lawrence Power / Andrew Manze

Berlioz: Harold in Italy; Weber: Aufforderung zum Tanz; Andante und Rondo Ungarese

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Two of the most innovative and influential composers in the early years of Romanticism were Hector Berlioz and Carl Maria von Weber, who are both represented on this exceptional Hyperion release by Andrew Manze and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. The major offering is Berlioz's second symphony, Harold en Italie, which was based on Lord Byron's poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. A programmatic work of considerable power and originality, though lacking the bizarre imagery that is found in the Symphonie fantastique, Harold en Italie is a fascinating hybrid of a viola concerto and a Romantic symphony, as well as an important forerunner to the Lisztian symphonic poem. Violist Lawrence Power is quite passionate and prominent in this studio performance, and his solo passages have a vibrant presence that is almost palpable. The other featured work on the program is Weber's Aufforderung zum Tanz (Invitation to the Dance) in Berlioz's sparkling orchestration, a concert favorite based on a rondo for piano. The rest of the program consists of light pieces, Berlioz's La captive and Plaisir d'amour, vocal works arranged for viola and orchestra, and Weber's Andante und Rondo Ungarese, making the album a bit more substantial and balanced. Hyperion's sound is deep and finely detailed, so virtually every note is audible.

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