You Review: Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts

Reader Elizabeth Carr enjoys a magnificent performance at Gloucester Cathedral

You Review: Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts

Take Hector Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts. Add the Philharmonia Orchestra – including four brass bands and 11 timpanis – Gloucester Choral SocietyBristol Choral Society, tenor Paul Nilon and conductor Adrian Partington.

What happens when they are put together in the unique space that is Gloucester Cathedral on a chilly St Cecilia's Day?

On Saturday 22 November a packed audience was spellbound from the first note. The diction of the choir was clear, and the orchestra responded to the conductor with a full and sensitive sound within the glorious acoustic. Nilon, singing lyrically from the balcony of the organ loft, brought a real focus to the 'Sanctus' after the full textures of the previous movement.

The ‘Tuba Mirum’ could have terrified the audience with its warnings but the ‘Quaerens me’ was sung by the chorus etherially to balance the performance. This was 90 minutes of sheer heaven.


Elizabeth Carr, Gloucester



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