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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Berlioz - Dies Irae {Turn up the volume!!}

The Grande Messe des morts, Op. 5 (or Requiem) by Hector Berlioz was composed in 1837. The Grande Messe des Morts is one of Berlioz's best-known works, with a tremendous orchestration of woodwind and brass instruments, including four antiphonal brass ensembles placed at the corners of the concert stage. The work derives its text from the traditional Latin Requiem Mass. It has a duration of approximately ninety minutes, although there are faster recordings of under seventy-five minutes.

I was lucky to attend a performance and rehearsal of the Requiem in the Hague way back in the seventies. It was an incredible experience. The 4 brass groups were in the corners of the concert hall, which made the audience sit in between them and the orchestra and choirs. Amazing sound! The timpani's were situated next to each other in a long row. You could hear and see them rolling back and forth in big waves. Nothing comes close to that sound.
Only a genius like Berlioz could come up with a score like this.

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