Berlioz: Requiem, Mort De Cleopatre / Bernstein, R

Album cover art for upc 5099704752624
Label: SONY
Catalog: SM2K47526
Format: CD

Stuart Burrows - Tenor, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre Nationale de France, Leonard Bernstein - conductor.

Berlioz: Requiem, Mort de Cleopatre, Romeo et Juliette (excerpts)

Last one in stock. Part of the Royal Edition. Vol. 13
Berlioz' Requiem needs a performance of spontaneous brilliance and almost manic intensity to come off. The reason is simple. The big movements--the Dies Irae sequence and Lachrymosa--use a huge chorus and a full orchestra including four brass bands (stationed in the four corners of the concert hall), eight sets of timpani (10 players), and additional percussion. After that, everything else sounds anti-climatic, unless the conductor somehow manages to keep the tension flowing through the quiet (and, let's not kid ourselves, dull) bits. Leonard Bernstein certainly manages the impossible, though God only knows how he does it. The recording helps--it really captures a sense of large forces in a big space, while projecting the aura of mystery that the intimate moments need if they're going to work. --David Hurwitz