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LS 0729
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LS 0729

Berlioz - Grande Messe des morts

The Classical Shop
release date: March 2013

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2012


London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Colin Davis

Barry Banks

London Symphony Chorus

London Philharmonic Choir


St Pauls Cathedral, London (Live)

25 & 26 June 2012


James Mallinson


Neil Hutchinson

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 94:04
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Grande Messe des morts (Requiem)

1 I Requiem et Kyrie 12:14
2 II Dies irae 13:39
3 III Quid sum miser 3:23
4 IV Rex tremendae 6:44
5 V Quærens me 5:10
6 VI Lacrymosa 11:46
7 VII Offertoire 11:49
8 VIII Hostias 3:47
9 IX Sanctus 11:28
10 X Agnus Dei 14:04

Grande Messe des morts is a popular Berlioz creation, yet remains a rare and special treat. A requiem whose text derives from the traditional Latin Requiem Mass, it was composed, uniquely, by a man with no firm religious belief. Throughout the piece there is an extreme variation of dynamics. Poignant, reflective music is contrasted with four blazing brass ensembles, ensuring a powerful and grand listening experience.

Recorded in St Paul’s Cathedral, a fitting acoustic for the work, the London Symphony Orchestra opened the 50th anniversary of the City of London Festival with the Requiem, joined by English lyric tenor Barry Banks and two of London’s finest choirs, the London Symphony Chorus and London Philharmonic Choir.

Sir Colin Davis is a revered Berlioz expert and his LSO Live Berlioz recordings have one of the most widely acclaimed series’ of classical recordings of recent years and collected numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards for Les Troyens.

"...The combined London Philharmonic Choir and London Symphony Chorus respond to Davis’s conducting as a single entity, the singers’ exquisitely blended textures melting into the acoustic. The tenors and basses show glorious control at “Te decet hymnus” in the opening ‘Requiem aeternam’, while the great ‘Lacrymosa’ – an epic on five lines of text – has rarely sounded more arresting. Even the ‘Offertoire’, which can outstay its welcome in a more routine account of the Requiem, emerges as a fervent prayer offered up with restraint and near-stillness.Bel canto specialist Barry Banks is an inspired choice for the ‘Sanctus’ and the distanced recording adds rapture to his limpid tenor as it keens its way through the Cathedral like a seraphic prayer. The London Symphony Orchestra revels in its role, producing colours of the utmost richness and fielding an unbuttoned quartet of brass bands (which David Cairns refers to as an “apocalyptic armoury”) to make hair-raising interventions.
Davis achieves a kind of alchemy in allowing long, relaxed phrases to unfold in lyrical comfort yet with a real sense of urgency. The composer helps with his propensity for extended top lines underpinned by rhythmic bass interpolations, for example in ‘Querens me’. Throughout the performance (as was clear from his unforced manner on the night) Davis resists any temptation to exploit the acoustic in pursuit of a sonic spectacular. That side of things is allowed to look after itself. Lesser mortals would be tempted to play the cathedral; Sir Colin Davis plays the score."
Mark Valencia - - 6 April 2013

                   Star Review

"...The recording captures the sense of occasion that must accompany ay performance of this extraordinary work, whose demands on soloist, chorus and orchestra- and for that matter, the listeners-- are massive. Davis distils a lifetime’s practical expertise with Berlioz into a performance that is noble, thrilling, intiate and richly satisfying. His orchestra plays for him as if possessed and the massed choirs are exceptional in what they deliver... Even if you have Davis’s 1960s recording of the Requiem, it is worth investing in this new one to savour his insights." *****

Philip Reed - Choir & Organ magazine - July/August 2013

                       ***** -  Exceptional disc

Giuseppe Rossi - Musica magazine - June 2013

 "... lovely orchestral detail ... The chorus is excellent ... Colin Davis is a must have."

Richard Lawrence - Gramophone magazine - June 2013

                                Music **** (Very Good)              Sound ***** (Outstanding)

Andreas Friesenhagen - Fono Forum magazine - June 2013

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