February 28, 2020
Thierry Fischer and Utah Symphony’s All-Berlioz Album Released by Hyperion Records, February 28

Recording comprises Symphonie fantastiqueRêverie et caprice with violinist Philippe Quint, La mort d'Ophélie, and Sara la baigneuse

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (February 28, 2020) — Today marks the release of Music Director Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony’s new all-Berlioz album on Hyperion Records. The recording features a varied selection from Berlioz’s oeuvre, including his best-known work, Symphonie fantastique. The album also includes Rêverie et caprice for violin and orchestra, recorded with Philippe Quint when he was the orchestra’s Artist-in-Association, and two poetry settings for orchestra and chorus, La mort d'Ophélie and Sara la baigneuse, which were recorded with the Utah Symphony Chorus and University of Utah Chamber Choir. Orders are now available via Hyperion Records and retailers including Amazon and iTunes.

A passionate devotee of the French repertoire, Mr. Fischer said:

“One reason I love Berlioz’s music so much is because he expresses himself so directly, with no ambiguity about the fears and hopes that are driving his thought. His feelings seem to flow straight from his heart to the musical page.”

Symphonie fantastique is the work with which Mr. Fischer made his Utah Symphony debut in October 2007, two years before becoming Music Director. He describes the symphony as “an emotional diary of a man in his mid-20s who has recently left his provincial home and is now in the city discovering life with all its feelings of struggle, failure, solitude, lonelinessIt’s a vivid account of these universal human emotions as experienced by a young man in 1830.

The remaining works on the recording are less frequently performed, and by including them, Mr. Fischer and the Utah Symphony offer listeners a richer and more complex picture of Berlioz and his music. Rêverie et caprice is an 1841 concertante transcription of an aria originally composed by Berlioz for his opera Benvenuto Cellini, but omitted by the composer from the final score. La mort d'Ophélie is the second of three pieces for chorus and orchestra published together under the title Tristia in 1852. A setting of a ballade by Ernest Legouvé, La mort d'Ophélie is described in the album liner notes as a lament for Berlioz’s relationship with Harriet Smithson, an actress who had won his affection while portraying Ophelia in Hamlet, and who served as the inspiration for Symphonie fantastiqueSara la baigneuse sets a poem by Victor Hugo and was composed in 1834 while Berlioz was living in Montmartre. The cover art for the present recording is another interpretation of Hugo’s poem, painted by Jean-Jacques Henner in 1903.

In exploring the music of Berlioz with the Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer builds on a rich, career-long engagement with the French repertoire—from classics by Debussy and Ravel to contemporary works by Pierre Boulez and Tristan Murail. Last year, Hyperion released his and the Utah Symphony’s complete, three-volume Saint-Saëns symphony cycle, and of his 14 prior albums for the label, over half are devoted to works by Francophone composers, including Fauré, Françaix, Honegger, d’Indy, Lalo, Martin, Poulenc, and Widor. In concert this season, he leads the Utah Symphony in a season-long exploration of Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles, a twelve-movement work inspired by the birds and rugged features of southern Utah. They will record the work this spring for future release on Hyperion.

About the Utah Symphony

Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony performs more than 175 concerts each season and offers all Utahns access to world-class live performances of the world’s greatest music in the state’s top venues. Since being named the orchestra’s seventh Music Director in 2009, Thierry Fischer has attracted leading musicians and top soloists, refreshed programming, drawn increased audiences, and galvanized community support. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including the Mighty 5® Tour of Utah’s national parks and last season’s Great American Road Trip, which also included Utah state parks and national monuments, the Utah Symphony has embarked on seven international tours—from Europe to Central and South America—and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2016 coinciding with the orchestra’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

The Utah Symphony has released more than 100 recordings, and recent releases (on Reference Recordings) include Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé and Alexander Nevsky (2019), Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1 and 8 (2015 and 2017, respectively) and Dawn to Dust (2016), which features three Utah Symphony-commissioned works by Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas. The orchestra’s discography with former Music Director Maurice Abravanel includes not only the first Mahler symphony cycle by an American orchestra, but also premiere recordings of works by Honegger, Milhaud, Rorem, Satie, Schuman, and Varèse.

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the orchestra’s parent organization, reaches 450,000 residents in Utah and the Intermountain region, with educational outreach programs serving more than 155,000 students annually. In addition to performances in its home in Salt Lake City, Abravanel Hall, and concerts throughout the state of Utah, the Utah Symphony participates in Utah Opera’s four annual productions at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and present the six-week Deer Valley® Music Festival each summer in Park City, Utah.

For more information about the orchestra, visit utahsymphony.org.

Season Sponsor for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.

About Thierry Fischer

Now in his 11th season as Music Director of the Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer has revitalized the orchestra with creative programming, critically acclaimed performances, and new recordings. He has conducted numerous composer cycles at Abravanel Hall, and in addition to focusing on Saint-Saëns, he has led the orchestra in cycles of symphonies and concertos by composers from Germany, Austria, Denmark, and America. These performances include a two-season Mahler symphony cycle in celebration of the Utah Symphony’s 75th anniversary and its legacy as the first American orchestra to record the complete Mahler symphonies.

Appointed Principal Guest of the Seoul Philharmonic in January 2017, Mr. Fischer has also guest-conducted the Atlanta, BBC, Boston, Cincinnati, and Detroit symphony orchestras, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, London Philharmonic Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Oslo and Rotterdam Philharmonics, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, and the Munich Chamber Orchestra, among others. With the BBC Symphony Orchestra, he conducted the 2015 “Pierre Boulez at 90” concert at London’s Barbican Hall.

Mr. Fischer made his conducting debut in his 30s leading the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, which he led in 2016 on a European tour. He has served as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Ulster Orchestra (2001–06), Chief Conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra (2008–11), and Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (2006–12), which he led annually at the BBC Proms, frequently in performances of the French repertoire.

For more information about Mr. Fischer, visit thierryfischer.com.

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UTAH SYMPHONY
BERLIOZ: SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE & OTHER WORKS
HYPERION RECORDS CDA68324

Utah Symphony
Thierry Fischer, conductor

HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803–69)

Symphonie fantastique Op 14 [54'47]
1. Rêveries – Passions [15'16]
2. Un bal [6'22]
3. Scène aux champs [16'07]
4. Marche au supplice [7'10]
5. Songe d'une nuit de sabbat [9'52]

6. Rêverie et caprice Op 8 [9'07]
with Philippe Quint (violin)

7. La mort d'Ophélie Op 18 No 2 [9'27]
with Utah Symphony Chorus, University of Utah Chamber Choir

8. Sara la baigneuse Op 11 [7'08]
with Utah Symphony Chorus, University of Utah Chamber Choir

Total duration: 80 minutes 29 seconds

Recorded live in Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah, in February 2019.

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For press copies, please contact:

Shuman Associates
shumanpr@shumanassociates.net | (212) 315-1300

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