Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Berlioz Requiem sets a luminous tone
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Requiem set's the tone for Good Friday in a luminous and often moving performance. The brilliant Philadelphia Orchestra and the added four brass ensembles further exhalt this highly theatrical performance. Ormandy's coolness in the quiet sections and thundering in the Lacrymosa and Tuba Mirum grip the mood and chill the spine. Thus Ormandy displayed the genius of Berlioz as a master in painting in brass and subdued percussion. The Temple University Concert Choir sung with conviction, clarity and sensitivity. The tenor, Cesare Vallenti, was spectacular!"
As powerful as the revolution it is in religious music
Jacques COULARDEAU | OLLIERGUES France | 07/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No recording will ever give the spatial rendering that is necessary for such a massive and monumental work. To really have the feeling of this Requiem you need to listen to it in a cathedral or a vast abbeychurch that enables the director to spread his voices and instruments in a huge space. But a recording can give you the richness of the composition. Hector Berlioz was definitely an atheist and he accepted to compose this Requiem to celebrate the victims of the 1830 revolution in France, though it will change completely later on and will celebrate the capture of Constantine in Algeria by the French in which General Charles-Marie de Damrémont, the Governor of Algeria at the time, died. Berlioz tried to recapture the massive inspiration of the musicians of the French Revolution and to go beyond catholicism to build a vision of the fundamental human drama that comes up from human history, the way Berlioz sees it. For him humanity is confronted to a deep dilemma that confronts the desire to build a new and better world to the reality of war and the human ugly fascination for suffering, both the desire/need to suffer and the desire/need to make other people suffer. This Requiem tries to tell us, through the music and nothing but the music, that we need a rebellious vision of human fate. Christ did not come on his own accord and on his father's decision, but because we asked him to come, because we needed him to come. « Remember, kind Jesus, that I caused your coming. » It could mean man caused this coming with his sins, but it definitely means for Berlioz that man asked Jesus to come to help him sort out the mess in which he is living. Some say it is a Requiem composed by Faust, but we may think it is a Requiem composed by Shakespeare. All musical means are used to imply that man can control his life and his future if man is able to dominate and manage his passions and his deep frustrations. One will be absoluetly flabbergasted when they discover the Dies Irae is a vision of the Apocalypse, that the Lacrymosa is an extreme rebellion against resignation. The use of the flute and the trombone in the Hostias is remarkably modern and pathetic. And these same flute and trombone will come back in the Agnus Dei with the same power to go beyond some abstract faith in equilibrium to express the deep suffering of man confronted to human fate. Hope is not in God but it is entirely in man's heart and soul.Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University of Perpignan"
kelsie | Plainview, Texas United States | 05/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eugene Ormandy's reading of the Berlioz Requiem is almost essential. The seminal period of the work is, of course, the massive and magnificent 'Tuba Mirum,' at which the multiple brass bands at the four corners of the orchestra enter. This crucial element of the score is pulled off very nicely by the Philadelphia Symphony and the accompanying chorus. The brass sounds very clear, and the massive numbers of crashing percussion do not obscure the orchestra and chorus. In short, the recording is very clear in what has to be one of the densest scores in the history of choral music. The other movements are played equally as well, with the 'Rex Tremendae' being the best reading I've ever heard, and the tenor in the 'Sanctus' is full of emotion and dramatic intensity-a key element. As a fan of Verdi's intense, overwhelming Requiem, the Berlioz was a perfect compliment to that, especially in this clear, precise recording by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Symphony."