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Stephen Francis Vasta
MusicWeb International, December 2016

In the absence of any conspicuous coarseness or executant indiscretions, Slatkin’s controlled, orderly Harold is superior… © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, January 2015

These are colorful readings, and often exciting… © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Alide Kohlhaas
The Seniors Review, December 2014

Intelligently performed by the Orchestre National de Lyon directed by Leonard Slatkin, with Lise Berthaud on viola and violinist Giovanni Radivo. This is a CD well worth having. © 2014 The Seniors Review

Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, November 2014

Miss Berthaud has a sweet, lyrical tone with plenty of backbone when the music demands it.

The French orchestra has a smooth, refined tone…[and] Naxos’ recorded sound…is full and spacious and pleasantly free from any gimmicks. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

John Warrack
International Record Review, October 2014

Lise Berthaud makes a fine violist for Berlioz’s Harold as she paces with melancholy contemplation through the quasi-Byronic scenes. She has a warm, gently husky tone, very suitable for the role, and at the start the balance with the harp is admirably managed.

…[in] the Rêverie et caprice, the violin is charmingly played by Giovanni Radivo. © 2014 International Record Review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, October 2014

Leonard Slatkin, at the podium of the Orchestre National de Lyon, delivers alert and affectionate accounts of favorites by the French romantic composer Hector Berlioz. The orchestra responds in ways that help bring new life to old warhorses.

The major work, of course, is Harold in Italy, in which the viola solo is more than adequately performed by French violist Lise Berthaud. Slatkin gets the emphasis right in this performance.

The encore here, Reverie et Caprice, is a work of rare charm and beauty, with Italian violinist Giovanni Radivo doing the honors. © 2014 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

Rob Cowan
Gramophone, September 2014

Lisa Berthaud’s first viola solo, backed by the harp and interspersed with expressive clarinets, is beautifully played.

The two overtures are excellently played, both benefiting from Slatkin’s familiar skill at clarifying orchestral textures. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, August 2014

The recording…is superb. The balance throughout is truthful…Keith Anderson’s comprehensive notes are provided in English with French translation. I hope that Slatkin and his Lyon forces will go on to explore more of the Berlioz repertoire, and look forward to the results. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Kimon Daltas
Sinfini Music, August 2014

…the glorious viola player Lise Berthaud on this Harold en Italie is a pretty good reason to give the disc a go, even in a crowded market. Her playing is warm, agile, expressive, urgent, melancholy, and all points between, bringing the wandering Harold to vivid life. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, August 2014

At times playing as a prominent soloist, at others merely providing filigree for color, Berthaud handles both sides of her part with grace and makes her presence felt, even when the viola’s dynamics are extremely soft. Slatkin leads the orchestra with energy and humor, making sure that the picturesque aspects of the piece [Harold en Italie] are vividly conveyed. This program is sure to please Berlioz aficionados, and fans of Berthaud should definitely take note of her appearance here. © 2014 Read complete review

WQXR (New York), July 2014

…there’s a French attention to melodic detail and phrasing, and the performance of Harold in Italy shows off the charismatic young soloist Lise Berthaud. © 2014 WQXR (New York) Read complete review, July 2014

The Orchestre National de Lyon under Leonard Slatkin delivers a spirited, sensitive and highly idiomatic performance…The two well-known overtures on the disc get equally warm and knowing treatment, the fine points of their orchestration…coming through clearly, with Slatkin’s tempo changes well chosen to reflect the works’ changing moods. Also here is the only work Berlioz wrote for solo violin and orchestra, his Rêverie et Caprice, a short and elegant piece handled skillfully and feelingly by soloist Giovanni Radivo and showing…the sensitive understanding of Slatkin and the ensemble. © 2014 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2014

BERLIOZ, H.: Harold en Italie / Le carnaval romain / Benvenuto Cellini: Overture (Berthaud, Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin) 8.573297
BERLIOZ, H.: Harold en Italie / Le carnaval romain / Benvenuto Cellini: Overture (Berthaud, Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0042

There is certainly no shortage of outstanding recordings of Harold in Italy, but this one from Lyon is very desirable, not least by virtue of its superb sound quality. Spacious in its opening movement, Leonard Slatkin’s tempos allow the gorgeous viola of the young Lise Berthaud to sing with eloquence, her intonation—in this concert recording—always perfectly centred. She is a very special talent. Throughout the first four movements Slatkin has concentrated on the score’s lyric qualities, eventually letting everyone off the leash for an outgoing and suitably exciting Orgie de brigands, with the brass departments in stunning form. The disc is completed with the overtures, Le carnaval romain and Benvenuto Cellini, and features some gorgeous cor anglais playing in the carnival, while Cellini swaggers in the opera’s colourful overture. Under Slatkin’s direction the Lyon Orchestra has become a suave and very fine ensemble, and are in fine form in these recordings taken from concert appearances. Those without Blu-ray facilities will feel very happy with the stunningly realistic sound, but paying the additional price for the advanced format will give you the possibility of life-like surround sound, or, in its standard digital format, an added transparency to the CD sound. © 2014 David’s Review Corner

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