The Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner, returns to Carnegie Hall for a performance of Beethoven's epic choral work Missa Solemnis. The program, which also features the Monteverdi Choir, was broadcast by WQXR, New York’s classical music radio station, on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8 pm.
Berlioz Requiem - Live Streaming
Concert in Saint-Denis Festival on 28 June 2012
John Eliot Gardiner with Monteverdi Choir, Orchestre National de France and Chœur de Radio France
“Gardiner gives an incandescent reading of the score, highlighting Berlioz's original and daring orchestration and his potent use of choirs … the score glows and glints with a wholly radiant amalgam of vitality and sensibility,” wrote the distinguished opera critic Alan Blyth of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s interpretation of Les Troyens. No doubt similar words will be applicable to these performances on 28th and 30th June of the French composer’s titanic setting of the Requiem Mass.
The concerts take place in the magnificent Basilica of St Denis, just north of Paris, in the context of the St Denis Festival. All but three of the kings of France are buried in the huge Gothic church, so it is an especially apt setting for this awe-inspiring music. The modern instruments of the Orchestre National de France will be joined by the Choeur de Radio France and the young American tenor Michael Spyres, who recently enjoyed a major Parisian success in another landmark of early French Romanticism, Auber’s opera La Muette de Portici.
It was a considerably less grandiose setting of the Requiem, Maurice Duruflé’s, that brought together Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre National de France at St Denis in 2008. The French website ResMusica.com had special praise for their realisation of the subtly coloured score (noting the use of a distinctive French bassoon rather than an Italian faggotto) and for the contribution on that occasion of the Monteverdi Choir. As ever, Sir John Eliot realised the dramatic potential of the piece: “He succeeded in imbuing this Duruflé Requiem with an unfamiliar nervous tension, far from the customary image of a calm, floating work.” When it comes to drama, though, there can be no doubt that, Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts, with its massive forces – including 17 timpani and four offstage brass ‘choirs’ –inhabits quite another (after)world.
HECTOR BERLIOZ Requiem (Grande Messe des morts, Op.5)
Michael Spyres, tenor
Monteverdi Choir Chœur de Radio France Matthias Brauer, music director Orchestre National de France Daniele Gatti, music director John Eliot Gardiner
Made during the series of concerts in Köthen in Autumn 2008 (possibly the location for the premiere of the Brandenburg Concertos) here is a three-part series of documentaries. They aim to examine (briefly) the history and music of this great set of works which was performed as part of the Monteverdi ensembles' Residency at Spitalfields Winter Music Festival in 2008, and which the English Baroque Soloists recorded (for the first time) at two concerts in Paris in January 2009.