“If someone was to threaten me with the burning of my entire œuvre except for one piece, it’s the Grande Messe des morts that I would ask to be saved.” To mark the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death, John Nelson conducts the Romantic composer’s majestic Requiem at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral.
A prodigious and radical composer, Hector Berlioz wrote this monumental work in three weeks as a commission from the French Minister of the Interior, who asked for a musical homage for the fallen of the 1830 revolution. Writing for a large orchestra and choir, one might have expected Berlioz to produce an over-sized and bombastic work but, aside from a number of grandiose passages, the piece is muted and meditative. Richly colorful yet mysterious, the Messe pour les Morts delivered its composer a decisive critical success.
© JN Credit - Gregory Massat