- Harold In Italy.
This recording follows an amazing concert in November 2014 in which James Ehnes played two Stradivarius instruments: The viola solo part of “Harold en Italie” , and a Stradivarius violin for the solo in “Rêverie et Caprice”, both of which are featured here.
We hear the following pieces:
- Harold en Italie, Op. 16, with James Ehnes (viola)
- Reverie et Caprice, Op. 8, with James Ehnes (violin)
- Rob Roy Overture
Performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis conducting.
In 1834, violinist Niccolo Paganini asked Berlioz for a work in which he could display his power on a fine Stradivarius viola. Berlioz then composed the four-movement symphony Harold en Italie for him.
Similarly, “Rêverie et Caprice” was the form eventually given to an aria from the opera Benvenuto Cellini, which Berlioz transformed it into a violin solo piece three years later. It is the only piece Berlioz ever wrote for solo violin.
The Guardian wrote on the 13th May 2015:
“Ehnes’ viola-playing is warm and expansive, but it is in the relatively compact Rêverie et Caprice that he is at his graceful best, gliding through mercurial mood swings and maintaining a notably lyrical line.”
Here is James Ehnes playing on a violin crafted by Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesù’, in 1737:
And next, here he is in the Sibelius Violin Concerto:
Tags: Berlioz, James Ehnes, violin, viola, Harold in Italy