London Symphony Orchestra with Ann Hallenberg and Gardiner: Les nuits d'été and Schumann Symphony No 2
What a great concert!
Ann Hallenberg is one of the top singers nowadays in the baroque repertoire. She, however, takes also part in some specific romantic opera and concert roles. Berlioz Les nuits d’été is a perfect work for her high mezzo voice and allows her to show characteristics other than her agility: character development and expressiveness. With Gardiner complicity she achieved a top level of beauty with a impressive blending with the orchestral textures.
The second part was the tricky Schumann Symphony No 2. In my quest for the perfect Schumann symphonic cycle recording (spoiler: it doesn’t exist) I had listened several times to Gardiner one from the 90s with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and it has some interesting discoveries but was far from ideal. So this superb performance with the London Symphony Orchestra came as a surprise. Gardiner has relaxed some of the rigid articulations and focused on getting the perfect volume and loudness balance from the different orchestral sections to get the unusual Schumann orchestration a perfect delivery.