192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 421 (supplied by www.linnrecords.com)

The SCO’s young conductor (31) is following in his mentor Sir Colin Davis’s recording path with a Berlioz series for Linn. The testing ‘Scène d’Amour’ from Roméo et Juliette I hope doesn’t preclude a complete version: the leaner orchestral sound here works well in suggesting the defiant youth of the lovers. But the real discovery is the Scottish mezzo Karen Cargill (2002 Ferrier Award winner and former Associate Artist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra). Her French is good and she identifies vividly with the passions of the texts, colouring her vocal timbre accordingly; she brings real power to the climaxes of the Death of Cleopatra cantata. Her Nuits d’été can match either of the two key versions by Régine Crespin and Janet Baker. Texts/translations are given in the booklet PDF. CB

Sound quality: 85%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

Available in CD/SACD, 96kHz and 192kHz guises, the latter certainly has a noise floor stretching out to 80kHz and audio content good to ~40kHz. The peak [red trace] to RMS [blue] ratio reflects this recording’s generous dynamic range. PM