Berlioz: Grande Messe des morts - Pappano

Berlioz: Grande Messe des morts - Pappano

RCO live  ? (2 discs)

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal

Berlioz: Grande Messe des morts

Javier Camarena (tenor)
Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam
Antonio Pappano (conductor)

Berlioz composed his Requiem at the request of a French government minister to commemorate the soldiers who died in the July Revolution in 1830. The Requiem would become one of Berlioz’s most popular works, among other things because of its imaginative instrumentation and gigantic orchestration, including four brass ensembles distributed throughout the hall. The work was also dear to the composer’s own heart. He once said, ‘If someone were to threaten to destroy all my works, I would beg for mercy on behalf of my Grande messe des morts.’

This awe-inspiring work is in good hands with conductor Antonio Pappano, whose refinement, energy and drama, usually put to good use in the opera house, are exactly what the performance of this French mammoth calls for. The Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is supporting the Concertgebouworkest, and the solo tenor is the Mexican singer Javier Camarena.

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Comments (5)

Comment by Marcus DiBenedetto - September 11, 2021 (1 of 5)

The SACD for this performance is scheduled for release on October 1st, 2021. Downloads are available now. The original recording format is DXD and I downloaded the 5.0 multichannel version in 24/352.8 DXD from Native DSD. This is my 4th copy of Berlioz: "Grande Messe des morts". I was not disappointed adding this album to my collection. The overall performance is excellent but it is the subtle nuances that are breathtaking. The chorus is a combination of the Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Netherlands Radio Choir. Chorus master, Ciro Visco, did a superb job melding these choirs. The best way I can describe their performance is the haunting, even dark, spiritual quality they add to many of the passages. Tenor Javier Camarena also performed magnificently. His voice beautifully communicated the Requiem's heartfelt condolences.

Jenny Camilleri from Opera Today attended the live performance at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on Friday, the 3rd of May, 2019. Her reaction? "Berlioz’s Requiem at the Concertgebouw – earthshakingly stupendous. ...The choir produced sumptuous, full-bodied harmonies, with defiantly percussive consonants in the ferocious Dies irae and Rex tremendae. The lyrical lines of the unaccompanied Quaerens me flowed like clear honey. Blanched, fearful murmurs receded into an almost tangible abyss, high voices shimmered in heaven-bound invocations." Read her entire review at

Marcus DiBenedetto
Las Vegas, NV

Comment by hiredfox - September 14, 2021 (2 of 5)

If recorded by Everett Porter than almost guaranteed to be superb SQ

Comment by Marcus DiBenedetto - September 14, 2021 (3 of 5)

Thanks John. Yes, Recording Engineers were Everett Porter and Karel Bruggeman (Assistant Engineer). I was not as familiar with Porter so I appreciate your insight.


Comment by hiredfox - September 19, 2021 (4 of 5)

Everett Porter has communicated on here quite frequently in the past. Polyhymnia - his parent company - has made the RCO recordings from the inception of their own label and Everett has recorded most of them.

Originally he recorded in DSD on Polyhymnia gear until space problems at the Concertgebouw forced a compromise. The Concertgebouw had previously recorded live concerts for local/national radio using PCM recording equipment. Sadly for us the compromise that Everett had to make was to use the Concertgebouw equipment, initially at 96/24. Simply, there was not room enough for two sets of recording gear in the recording studio!

The fact that PCM sampling rates have subsequently advanced to 192/24 and now it seems DXD is testimony (IMO) to the determination of Everett Porter to deliver the best possible SQ from his recordings and for their customers despite the local compromises. In that sense he is one of us, instinctively aware of the needs of our community.

I have always judged him to be on a par with John Newton and the Sound Mirror team.

Comment by Marcus DiBenedetto - September 22, 2021 (5 of 5)

I looked up his resume on the Polyhymnia website. He used to work with the Sound Mirror team. Very impressive. Thanks for all the background information.