Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique

TSO Berlioz Symphonie Fantasique album cover

This recording follows the TSO’s 2019 Juno Award-winning and Grammy Award-nominated Chandos recording, Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works. The TSO, with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, also received a 2018 Grammy Award for the recording of Handel’s Messiah orchestrated and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique includes a pair of vibrant works by the romantic French composer Hector Berlioz—the gripping and highly imaginative Symphonie fantastique and a scintillating selection from its sequel, Fantaisie sur la Tempête de Shakespeare (Fantasy on Shakespeare’s The Tempest), in which he paid homage to his literary hero, William Shakespeare.

Symphonie fantastique is Berlioz’s best-known work, and the five-movement masterpiece remains one of the most vividly programmatic symphonies ever written. Fantaisie sur la Tempête de Shakespeare was composed shortly after Berlioz won the coveted Prix de Rome and was originally conceived as a concert overture, with a chorus. After various reworkings of the material, the four-movement fantasy became the finale of Berlioz’s “monodrama” Lélio—a juxtaposition of existing material interlinked with dramatic monologues recited by the “artist” at the centre of the work. Fantaisie sur la Tempête de Shakespeare features the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC), Canada’s world-renowned large vocal ensemble whose mission is to champion the choral music experience.

Super Audio CD includes:

Berlioz: Fantasie dramatique sur la tempête, H. 52
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Jonathan Crow, concertmaster
Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
David Fallis, Interim Conductor & Artistic Director

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Vaughan Williams

TSO Vaughan Williams album cover

With this celebratory, Grammy-nominated and JUNO-winning release completing his 14-year tenure as Music Director of the TSO, Peter Oundjian conducts an exquisite Vaughan Williams program, supported by an all-Canadian cast of star soloists, recorded live at Roy Thomson Hall in November 2017.

In the program notes for the concert preceding the recording, Oundjian declared: "Ralph Vaughan Williams was possibly England’s most significant composer, and he is a personal favourite of mine. This [recording] presents some of his finest works, featuring soloists from the Orchestra as well as some of Canada's most notable solo artists, and the Elmer Iseler Singers…. The lyrical and engaging Oboe Concerto is rarely heard, but it is one of his most inspired works. Serenade to Music showcases his exquisite vocal writing, which also figures prominently in the ravishingly beautiful Flos Campi, so surprisingly scored for solo viola, choir, and chamber orchestra. The Piano Concerto is more dramatic, with a juggernaut opening and a brilliant fugal finale."

Super Audio CD includes:

Vaughan Williams: Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra
Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music
Vaughan Williams: Flos Campi
Vaughan Williams: Piano Concerto in C

Peter Oundjian, conductor
Carla Huhtanen, soprano
Emily D’Angelo, mezzo-soprano
Lawrence Wiliford, tenor
Tyler Duncan, baritone
Sarah Jeffrey, oboe
Teng Li, viola
Louis Lortie, piano
Elmer Iseler Singers

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