- Requiem (Grande Messe des morts), for tenor, chorus & orchestra, H. 75 (Op. 5)
This is a live performance of Berlioz's "Requiem, Op. 5," recorded in 2019 with Antonio Pappano leading the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam and the Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, a choir he knows well, and one that deserves a lot of the credit for this glorious performance. The forces are cut down by about half from what Berlioz considered his lower limit, but the result is a live recording of unusual clarity. Credit goes as well to Pappano, who has proved an adept conductor of this work in the past. His experience in opera stands him in good stead here, with dreamy, almost mystical choruses showing not a hint of strain in the choir. However, he's most impressive in the quadruple brass band passages, immersive experiences before there was such a thing. Here, he has a deliberate, majestic sweep, achieving true monumentality where there is a very strong tendency to let the brass blare and the singers shout. It helps that in the Concertgebouw Orchestra, he has one of the world's great brass contingents and that tenor Javier Camarena absolutely gets the desired floating quality in the Sanctus. This is a superb reading of what can be quite a difficult work.