Preview Classical: l'enfance du Christ

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The Independent Culture
Hector Berlioz, one of the most under-rated of the great composers, is loved by millions for his early Symphonie fantastique, yet the rest of his output is largely ignored. In truth, Berlioz's works often betray his origins as a "self-made" composer, but it is his refusal to act within formal constraints that make him such a genius. And if there is one conductor who has been responsible for altering our view of Berlioz from a "one- hit wonder" to a composer of rare originality, it is surely Sir Colin Davis, who has championed him for more than 30 years. Now, with the the London Symphony Orchestra, he has embarked on the year-long Berlioz Odyssey, an exploration of the composer's large-scale works. Last week we had the first opera, Benvenuto Cellini; this week we have the seasonal L'enfance du Christ, with a superb line-up of soloists, headed by Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside and Robert Lloyd. With more to come next year, this is a real cause for celebration.

`L'enfance du Christ', LSO/Davis, Barbican Hall, London EC2 (0171-638 8891) tonight and tomorrow at 7.30pm

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