Robin Ticciati's first disc with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is devoted to the composer who has featured prominently in his programmes since he became their principal conductor in 2009. Few previous recordings of the Symphonie Fantastique will have used such a modest string section, but the transparency and lightness of touch Ticciati achieves is a real bonus. Only in the finale, when the brass and percussion threaten to overwhelm everything, is there any hint of an imbalance. Berlioz's debt to Beethoven makes Ticciati's performance seem like a sequel to the outstanding cycle of Beethoven symphonies the SCO recorded with Charles Mackerras in 2006; it shares the sense of freshness and discovery that is such a feature of those discs. The overture to the opera Beatrice and Benedict, full of wonderful string interplay and characterful woodwind, makes a charming fill-up.
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique; Overture to Beatrice and Benedict – review