this fine recording will surely win the work more admirers. Authoritatively conducted by Kent Nagano, sumptuously played by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and rapturously sung by the three excellent soloists, the performance is one of irresistible shimmering beauty.
, The Telegraph, 7/25/2009
Listening to this excellent recording from Berlin you get a very clear idea of the work’s sophistication.
, The Financial Times, 7/25/2009
Kaija Saariaho's first opera will surely become one of the emblematic works of the decade
, The Independent, 7/31/2009
A medieval tale of idealised love, beyond normal comprehension, and fulfilled only at the moment of death; not Wagner or Debussy, but Saariaho’s mesmerising first opera L’amour de loin.
Premiered at the 2000 Salzburg festival, it is tempting to regard this diaphanous work as a Pelléas for the 21st century with its persistent delicacy of colouring being allied to timeless (and timely) themes of East meets West, otherness and the pursuit of dreams.
As with both Messiaen and Debussy, Saariaho’s magical score confounds operatic conventions, so that the fact it follows the grand French tradition in having five acts raises a wry smile.
A touch light-voiced at times, Daniel Belcher is a wonderfully driven Jaufré, while Ekaterina Lekhina adroitly captures Clemence’s vacillating responses.
Marie-Ange Todorovitch captures the Pilgrim’s attempts to negotiate the emotional minefield. Kent Nagano’s Berlin forces convey every nuance of this shimmering score, and the surround-sound recording is first-rate, making this a set that approaches ideal.
Christopher Dingle, BBC Music Magazine, 10/1/2009
The action and music moves at an expansive pace, but Saariaho invents a beguiling orchestral sound, with lush textures, astringent harmonies and imaginative use of tuned percussion, in which she weaves both medieval and Islamic musical idioms seamlessly into a modern but accessible score.
, The Sunday Times, 8/16/2009