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Berlioz Grande Messe des morts (Requiem)

Chetham’s School of Music Symphonic Brass Ensemble Gabrieli Consort & Players Wrocław Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra Robert Murray (tenor)/ Paul McCreesh

September 2010: Mary Magdalene Church, Wrocław, Poland

SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD280 (2 CDs 1 1/2 hrs)

A block-buster for New Year's Eve; an unique work in Berlioz's oeuvre and one of his own favourites, both grandiose and intimate by turns. McCreech has brought modern scholarship to bear, with period instruments and HIP thinking, and French-Latin pronounciation from the Polish/English choir.

Definitely one to welcome and to consider alongside those of Colin Davis and Sir Thomas Beecham (still available !) - my first experience of the Berlioz Requiem was under Beecham in the BBC's rehearsal studio 1 at Maida Vale; stupendous and overwhelming!

No serious problems with this new one apart from absence of track listing and sometime difficulty in hearing words easily... But really, for 2012, it ought to have been on DVD* or supplied with a documentary "extra" about the project; still possible perhaps ?

Several reviews links below.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Other reviews:

Classical Source The young, supple-voiced choirs are enveloped in a rich acoustic bloom, atmospheric without being recessed, and the vast arrays of instrumentalists are heard with individuality yet cohesion - -
*BUT "A sound-only carrier cannot conjure the visual expectancy that rank upon rank of choristers and players awakens in an audience."

allmusic.com - - spiritual depth and vast calmness that make this Requiem a profoundly meditative and moving experience. Signum's sound is spacious and resonant, which adds to the majesty and the mystery of the music.

Beecham (Amazon)