Available for release 3rd September. Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre National de Lyon perform Berlioz Symphonie fantastique.
‘Berlioz, to me, in terms of sheer orchestral invention, anticipates Mahler. If anything, he even surpasses him. So these are some of the things that characterise Berlioz: the extremes, the dynamics, the sound, the colours of the orchestra. Ravel was more about homogenisation. And I mean that in an entirely positive sense, because he’s taking the orchestral palette and really thinking very carefully about the essence of instrumental sonorities and how they go together.’ – Leonard Slatkin
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Immensely influential, the remarkable Symphonie fantastique was composed while Hector Berlioz was suffering an intense and unreciprocated passion for the Irish actress Harriet Smithson. Its autobiographical tale describes a young musician’s opium-poisoned nightmares of jealous despair and fatal justice following the murder of his beloved. Berlioz wrote a second movement cornet solo into a subsequent revision of the score, here included as an optional extra. He wed his sweetheart actress but, recuperating in Nice, wrote Le corsaire after the final breakup of their marriage.
Internationally renowned conductor Leonard Slatkin began his tenure as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the 2008-2009 season. He was recently named Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon, beginning with the 2011-2012 season. Additionally, he became Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 2008-2009. He completed his twelfth and final seasonas Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra in June 2008, and finished his three-year commitment as Music Advisor to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in June 2009. Slatkin continues as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Born in Los Angeles, where his parents, conductor-violinist Felix Slatkin and cellist Eleanor Aller, were founding members of the Hollywood String Quartet, he began his musical studies on the violin and studied conducting with his father, followed by training with Walter Susskind at Aspen and Jean Morel at The Juilliard School. After a successful tenure as Music Director of the Saint Louis Symphony from 1979 to 1996, he became Conductor Laureate. He served as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2004 and Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl from 2004 to 2007. His over a hundred recordings have brought seven GRAMMY® Awards and more than sixty GRAMMY® Award nominations. He has received many other honours, including the 2003 National Medal of Arts, France’s Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and the League of American Orchestras’ Gold Baton for service to American music.
Offspring of the Société des Grands Concerts de Lyon, founded in 1905, the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL) became a permanent orchestra with 102 musicians in 1969, with Louis Frémaux as its first musical director (1969-1971). From then on the orchestra was run and supported financially by the City of Lyon, which in 1975 provided it with a concert hall, the Lyon Auditorium. Since the Opéra de Lyon Orchestra was founded in 1983, the ONL has devoted itself to symphonic repertoire. Taking over from Louis Frémaux in 1971, Serge Baudo was in charge of the orchestra until 1986 and made it a musical force to be reckoned with far beyond its home region. Under the leadership of Emmanuel Krivine (1987-2000) and David Robertson (2000-2004), the ONL continued to increase in artistic stature and to receive international critical acclaim. Jun Märkl took over from him in September 2005 as Music Director of the ONL. Leonard Slatkin was recently named Music Director, beginning with the 2011-2012 season.