|For immediate release — New York, NY — Warner Classics will honor the 150th anniversary of Hector Berlioz’s death with the release of the first-ever complete recorded edition of the composer’s works, Berlioz: The Complete Works, on February 1, 2019. This 27 disc collection features milestone recordings spanning over 60 years of the Warner Classics, Erato, and Universal catalogs, and includes historical notes about the composer’s legacy written by leading Berlioz scholar David Cairns. Created in partnership with both the Hector Berlioz Museum and the Hector Berlioz Festival, the boxed set will be included in the official Berlioz Year schedule, published by France’s Ministry of Culture.
Following the success of Warner Classics’ complete Debussy edition, Berlioz: The Complete Works compiles a comprehensive set of landmark recordings from 1956 to 2018. The collection offers award-winning recordings of Les Nuits d’été, Symphonie fantastique, Lélio, L’enfance du Christ, and La Damnation de Faust featuring performances by Janet Baker, Anne Sofie von Otter, Thomas Moser, Susan Graham, José van Dam, the New Philharmonia Orchestra, the Orchestre national de l’ORTF, and the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon.
Also present in the collection is the recently released, 2017 award winning recording of Les Troyens performed by Joyce DiDonato, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Michael Spyres, and the Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg with conductor John Nelson. As a special bonus, two historical recordings by Pathé highlighting songs from Acts III and V of Les Troyens are included as well. Recorded in 1903 and 1904, these historical gems are the earliest recordings ever made of Berlioz’s work.
The set features a number of world premiere recordings including the first recording of the surviving fragments of Berlioz’s unfinished opera, La Nonne sanglante, which recently received its world premiere in August 2018. Other premieres include Fugue H22 (1826) & Fugue à trois sujets H35 (1829) for organ, Le dépit de la bergère romance H7 (c.1819), and Le temple universel H137c (1861).
As one of France’s greatest composers and a true exemplar of the 19th century Romantic style, Hector Berlioz is historically famous for his musical ambition, originality, and color. As a visual complement to this legacy, the covers of the boxed set feature paintings by Romantic artist William Turner (1775-1851) and the 160-page booklet is illustrated with documents from the archives of both the Hector Berlioz Museum and France’s Bibliothèque Nationale. David Cairns, a leading authority on Berlioz, has contributed detailed notes (in English, French, and German) about the composer’s life and the unique stories behind the many works featured in the collection.
Berlioz: The Complete Works will be available for purchase starting February 1, 2019. A wide range of digital releases will also be announced in the near future ranging from streamable singles to thematic albums.
| A wealth of milestone recordings and multi-award winners, including:
- Les Troyens, (Joyce DiDonato, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Michael Spyres, Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg, John Nelson);
- Les Nuits d’été (Janet Baker, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli);
- Symphonie fantastique & Lélio (Orchestre national de l’ORTF, Jean Martinon);
- L’enfance du Christ (Anne Sofie von Otter, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon, John Eliot Gardiner);
- La Damnation de Faust (Thomas Moser, Susan Graham, José van Dam, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon, Kent Nagano).
A number of world premiere recordings:
- La Nonne sanglante (surviving fragments of this unfinished opera);
- Fugue H22 (1826) & Fugue à trois sujets H35 (1829) for organ;
- Le dépit de la bergère, romance H7 (c.1819) for voice & piano;
- Le temple universel H137c (1861) completed and orchestrated along Berlioz’ wishes.
Historical premiere recordings:
- 2 of the earliest recordings ever made of Berlioz’ work, and the first ever recording of the Symphonie Fantastique:
- Les Troyens ACTE III “Chers Tyriens” Didon · Marie Delna contralto, ca. 1903;
- Les Troyens ACTE V “Adieu, fière cité” Didon · Félia Litvinne soprano, ca. 1904;
- Symphonie Fantastique under the direction of Rhené-Baton, 1923.
Beyond those mentioned above, performers featuring in Hector Berlioz: The Complete Works include:
Leonard Bernstein, André Cluytens, Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Laurence Equilbey, Louis Frémaux, Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, Kent Nagano, Roger Norrington, Michel Plasson, André Previn, François-Xavier Roth.
Roberto Alagna, Victoria de los Angeles, José Van Dam, Sabine Devieilhe, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elsa Dreisig, Nicolai Gedda, Thomas Hampson, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Felicity Lott, Jessye Norman, Michael Spyres, Rolando Villazón.
Marie-Claire Alain, Renaud Capuçon, Alexandre Tharaud.