Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique & Lélio
To mark the 150th anniversary of the death of Hector Berlioz, the programmatic focus of the Wiener Symphoniker and its principal conductor Philippe Jordan in the 2018-19 season was dedicated to this French composer. In this context, Philippe Jordan presented the often performed Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14, along with its seldom heard sister work Lélio ou Le retour à la vie, Op. 14b, at the Wiener Musikverein in November 2018. The acclaimed concert experience will now also be released as a live recording on the Orchestra’s own label, sold by Sony Music. Along with the tenor Cyrille Dubois and the baritone Florian Sempey, the soloists are joined by the celebrated French bass Jean-Philippe Lafonte as the narrator and the Wiener Singverein, the concert choir of the Musikverein music association, directed by Johannes Prinz.
Major work of programme music
Berlioz’s best-known composition, Symphonie fantastique, is considered the first major work of programme music. There, Berlioz followed the structure of the classical drama and composed a work, subtitled An Episode in the Life of an Artist, in five parts. For the composer, it was an attempt to come to grips with his still unrequited love for the British actress Harriet Smithson. However, it was only through the composition of the lyrical melodrama Lélio ou Le Retour à la Vie, considered to be a sequel to the Symphony, that Berlioz reached his beloved one. Unlike the world-famous Symphonie fantastique, Lélio remained a true rarity which has only been heard again in the last few years as a supplement to its all-too-powerful great sister.
Release date of the CD in Germany, Austria and Switzerland: 24 May 2019 and at the end of May in the rest of the world.
The CD will be available from well-stocked specialist retailers, such as Amazon, Gramola, iTunes, etc.