Interesting difference of opinions below
William Ellis | Atlanta, GA USA | 06/27/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This perfomance gets 3 stars partly because Barcellona in her small part, and Anatassov in his large part, are not equal to the music. Barcellona is very wobbly, which detracts from the beauty of the music, and Anatassov seems completely unnivolved in the drama. Some of the dullness is Sir Colin's fault, and since I'm a Berlioz fanatic and have his Vienna and older London recordings on Philips, plus four others, I think I'm qualified to say that.The work is ravishingly beautiful at its best, but the second half needs real advocacy in order not to pale in comparison with the first. Davis and the LSO are fine in the parts that are self-recommending, but flag in the very parts that need a conductor to show all his love of Berlioz. Dutoit, with Krause, kept the interest up but his recording is not available. Alas, neither is Barenboim's, in which Jose Van Dam was the best Pere Laurence I've heard. Gardiner's recording is certainly not dull, but I hate his scratchy, unrefined 'period' instruments. Davis' Philips Vienna set is no less boring in the second half than the LSO Live one, and Muti's reissue on EMI is the biggest snorer of all. Someone there should be drawn and quartered for reissuing that instead of Giulini's.Unless you really want to have the whole work, my recommendation would be to get the Naxos set of excerpts conducted by Yoav Talmi, beautifully performed (and cheap). Also, there is an EMI super-budget CD that includes the Scene d'Amour, in a performance with Giulini and the Chicago Symphony (of all the unlikely orchestras in French music) that will melt a heart of stone. For the entire work, keep an eye out for a reissue of Dutoit or Giulini (I have not heard Inbal or Gardelli)."
Very, very dull
cambridge39 | Canton, MA USA | 06/10/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I wanted a recording of Berlioz' Romeo et Juliette, and I bought this recording because it had a very low price and appeared to be the work of a competent conductor and orchestra, even though I never heard of the singers. I have played the recording four times. I find it extremely dull. Listening to it is like listening to nothing at all or to the blandest elevator music imaginable. The fault is not the composer's. This is a very dull performance, and I suspect that the recording technicians may not have been sufficiently qualified to make a recording. This recording is not worth having, even if it were free."
Tameness is (almost) fatal in Romeo et Juliette
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 04/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is not only the tamest of Colin Davis's three readings of Romeo et Juliette but the tamest of any version I've ever encountered. Two very good things stand out: the excellent sonics and Davis's beautiful sense of phrasing. That said, R & J is the last piece of music to need a measured, mature interpretation, which is what Davis has to offer at this point in almost everything he conducts.
His chorus and soloists sing with nice flexibility, but their French is very British. The mezzo and bass soloists, as others have noted, are sound too mature and wobbly. All in all, I found myself enjoying this CD in isolaiton but found it quite pale beside other versions from James Levine (passionately romantic and my current favorite), Charles Munch, and the younger Davis himself."