Berlioz: Grande Messe des morts

  • Catalogue Number LSO0729
    UPC 822231172925

    James Mallinson producer
    Neil Hutchinson for Classic Sound Ltd balance engineer

    Recorded live at St Paul's Cathedral, June 2012

    DSD (Direct Stream Digital) recording
    Notes in English / en français / auf Deutsch

  • Grammy Nomination 2014: Best Choral Performance

    ICMA Winner 2014: Choral Works

    La Clef du Mois ResMusica

    Gramophone Choice (Vocal)

    Recording of the Month 'This, his last-ever Berlioz recording, demonstrates yet again his unique empathy with and understanding of Berlioz’s music as well as his authority in conducting it.'
    Music Web International

    ***** Musica

    ***** 'Malcolm Hayes is struck by conductor Colin Davis's masterful understanding of the music, and the near-perfection of sound, in the London Symphony Orchestra's remarkable new recording of Berlioz's epic Requiem.' Sinfini Music

    ***** Star Review ‘Davis distils a lifetime’s practical expertise with Berlioz into a performance that is noble, thrilling, intimate and richly satisfying. His orchestra plays for him as if possessed and the massed choirs are exceptional in what they deliver. Tenor Barry Banks provides just the right combination of sweetness and power in the Sanctus, his one solo.’ Choir & Organ

    **** Mail on Sunday

    ‘This may be the most purely beautiful Berlioz Requiem on CD.’ American Record Guide

    ‘In this live recording of Berlioz’s Requiem, made at last year’s City of London Festival, the enigmatic rising phrases that launch the work continue to reverberate hauntingly in the surrounding silences, and the tone of the combined LSO and LPO choirs — singing beautifully and bringing out the music’s profound sadness — is wonderfully enhanced. Colin Davis fits the work to the conditions with a master hand. Memorable.’The Sunday Times

    ‘Barry Banks, sounding some way off, is effortlessly mellifluous. Whether in 2012 or 1969, Colin Davis is a must-have.’ Gramophone

    ‘The four additional brass groups that Berlioz deploys in three sections of the Requiem make a terrific impact as do the battery of timpani, especially for those listening in surround. To the mainly slow moving and devotional sections of this transcendental and majestic work, Davis brings a wonderful sense of dignified and spiritual repose.’

    'The combined London Symphony Chorus and London Philharmonic Choir sing magnificently throughout, and the LSO play with the dedication and commitment reserved for their veteran President.'
    Classical CD Choice

    'This is an expertly shaped performance by the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus as well as the London Philharmonic Choir by the masterful Sir Colin Davis.' Musical Toronto

    ‘The two concerts in Saint Paul’s Cathedral in June 2012 upon which this recording is based were colossal events. I attended the first of them and have rarely been so moved by the magnificence of stately music superbly rendered. LSO Live has captured the moment with remarkable fidelity.’ Classical Source

    ‘The interpretation is masterly by a man who knows Berlioz perhaps better than any other conductor in the world. Everything about it is judged as just right, and Davis is one of the few who consistently realizes that the lyrical propensities of the composer are as important—especially in this work—as the more grandiose and bombastic passages. As an interpretation this is as good as it gets, the equal of any recording on the market.’ Audiophile Audition

    ‘This is an essential purchase – a first-rate reading of a religious work that combines both entertainment value and spiritual uplift.’
    The Arts Desk

    ‘A magnificent valediction from the master Berlioz conductor … This utterly imposing performance of Berlioz’s grandest work was one of the last great triumphs of Sir Colin Davis’s long and illustrious career. That career, which spanned nearly sixty years, covered an astonishing breadth of repertory but he will be particularly remembered for his championing of Tippett, Sibelius and, of course, Berlioz …Here is a recording to treasure which takes its place alongside Sir Colin’s 1969 recording and Paul McCreesh’s recent version as the very best in the catalogue.’ Limelight


Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Colin Davis was revered Berlioz expert and his LSO Live Berlioz recordings were one of the most widely acclaimed series’ of classical recordings of recent years and collected numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards for Les Troyens. The release of the monumental Grande Messe des morts marks the completion of this cycle and further confirms Sir Colin’s status as one of the greatest conductors of Berlioz’s music. 

Recorded in St Paul’s Cathedral, a fitting acoustic for the work, the London Symphony Orchestra are joined by English lyric tenor Barry Banks and two of London’s finest choirs, the London Symphony Chorus and London Philharmonic Choir.

Watch the video trailer here

Composer   Berlioz
Conductor   Sir Colin Davis
Performers   London Symphony Chorus, London Philharmonic Choir, London Symphony Orchestra
Soloist   Barry Banks

Track list
Disc 1
1. Grande Messe des morts: I. Requiem et Kyrie
2. Grande Messe des morts: II. Dies irae
3. Grande Messe des morts: III. Quid sum miser
4. Grande Messe des morts: IV. Rex tremendae
5. Grande Messe des morts: V. Quaerens me
6. Grande Messe des morts: VI. Lacrymosa
Disc 2
7. Grande Messe des morts: VII. Offertoire (Domine Jesu Christe)
8. Grande Messe des morts: VIII. Hostias
9. Grande Messe des morts: IX. Sanctus
10. Grande Messe des morts: X. Agnus Dei

Also available on