Presented by Bergen International Festival, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Bergen National Opera

Berlioz: Grande messe des morts

Thursday 24 May

Recorded live in Grieghallen Thursday 24 May 2018

Berlioz’ grandiose requiem masterfully mixes the dramatic with the intimate.

Hector Berlioz went all in when he wrote his requiem to commemorate the fallen of the 1830 revolution in France. The performance requires a gargantuan ensemble, including three choirs and colossal brass, and unleashes an incredible range of expression with masterful theatricality.

The ideas flowed so quickly for the requiem that the composer had to devise a more efficient musical shorthand to keep up. In contrast to the mighty, violent sounds of the apocalypse the quieter sections emerge with even greater impact. A lone tenor soloist symbolizes the soul of the individual.

The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Eikanger-Bjørsvik musikklag are conducted by Edward Gardner for this opening concert of the 2018 Bergen International Festival. 

The choral component to this co-production with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bergen National Opera consists of the Edvard Grieg Choir, the Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Collegiûm Mûsicûm and the Royal Northern College of Music Choir, all led by choirmaster Håkon Matti Skrede. Young tenor Bror Magnus Tødenes has delighted the Festival audience in the past, and the award-winning singer is the evening’s soloist.

''Berlioz Grande messe des morts is dramatic, but this performance was more dramatic than many, particularly as the impact was created by quality, not quantity for its own sake. Gardner, With his background in opera, realizes that drama lies in contrast and tension, clariry of form and meaning. ...With Bergen he's hit the jackpot. Bergen may be a small city, but the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the oldest public orchestras. ... They are now revitalized and dynamic, very much one of the great orchestras of Europa. Even their live stream is classy'', Classical Iconoclast

‘If I were threatened with the destruction of all my works but one, I should beg mercy for the Requiem.’ – HECTOR BERLIOZ