In 1841 Berlioz set to music six poems by Théophile Gautier in the first version for piano and voice; later he made an orchestral writing, with an expressive range that ensured these songs a stable place in the classical repertoire. The lyrics of Les Nuits d'été focused on the subject of love. The n. 1 and n. 6 reflect the youthful optimism: the first 'Villanelle', lists the simple pleasures that spring offers to in love, and the last 'L'ile inconnue' evokes a sea journey to unknown lands on which beaches you will find love eternal. In the other songs the colors appear bleak. The dreamy 'Le specter de la rose' gives voice to flower, feather placed in a ball, he dies. The romance darker 'Sur le lagunes' is a sad lament for a deceased lover, while the light 'absense' craving a love away. 'Au cimetière' music draws the image of a dove that is watching over a grave.
'La mort de Cléopatre', subject assigned in 1829 to the Grand Prix of the Académie des Beaux-Arts of the Institut de France, Berlioz allows you to express your love of Shakespeare and classical antiquity. For Berlioz is the third attempt to get the coveted award, which in addition to professional prestige guaranteed two-year stay in Rome at the Villa Medici, but this time his song is discarded; the originality and strength arouse bewilderment and incomprehension in the jury for the presence of extraordinary harmonies, unusual rhythms, unexpected effects.
Good record with two great singers will be accompanied by an excellent Barenboim.
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