21 Apr 2018

BERLIOZ: Les Nuits d'Été

From Music Alive, 7:30 pm on 21 April 2018

The six individual songs that comprise Hector Berlioz’s song cycle Les nuits d’été (Summer Nights) provide a meditation on a journey.

"Le spectre de la rose - T. Gautier, H. Berlioz" by courambel

"Le spectre de la rose - T. Gautier, H. Berlioz" by courambel Photo: CC by-nc 2.0

  • Villanelle
  • Le spectre de la rose
  • Sur les lagunes
  • Absence
  • Au cimetière
  • L’île inconnue

Berlioz describes in these songs the movement between places – known and unknown, real and unearthly – and the songs travel their own path from springtime love and closeness to the darkness of death and distance.

The orchestrated Les nuits d’été shows Berlioz’s complete affinity with both musical and poetic expression.

Sasha Cooke

Sasha Cooke Photo: Dario Acosta

Throughout his career, Berlioz furnished Parisian journals with characteristically sharp-witted observations of artistic life. His writing is perhaps of equal significance to his music.

Les nuits d’ete demonstrates Berlioz was attuned to the melancholic overtones of his text, poems published by fellow music critic Théophile Gautier in his 1838 volume La Comédie de la Mort.

Recorded 21 April 2018, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert

Producer: David McCaw

Engineer: Darryl Stack