Berlioz: Grande Messe des Morts Op. 5 / Davis, Ikaia-Purdy, Dresden Staatskapelle

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This performance, captured on February 14, 1994 in Dresden's Kreuzkirche, commemorates the February 13, 1945 bombing of Dresden. The interpretation is so compelling, and so...
This performance, captured on February 14, 1994 in Dresden's Kreuzkirche, commemorates the February 13, 1945 bombing of Dresden. The interpretation is so compelling, and so effectively captured by the German radio engineers, that you almost wish these forces had found reason for a few more commemorative events! Nevertheless, Davis is almost always reliable in Berlioz, and the weight of the occasion seems to have inspired not just him but everyone involved to give of their very best.

The initial Requiem and Kyrie takes a little time to warm up, but Davis & Co. deliver a crushing account of the Dies Irae, with positively cataclysmic brass and timpani fusillades and a vast dynamic range. The various combined choirs sing magnificently, and more importantly have the lung-power necessary to balance the huge instrumental forces. Nor, despite the ample acoustic, is there so much reverberation that the more sensitive moments, such as the a cappella Quaerens me, get lost in an acoustic fog.

Indeed, after a terrifying Lacrymosa the performance generally becomes even more compelling. Tenor Keith Idaia-Purdy has a penetrating but somewhat nasal tone in the Sanctus, but the Agnus Dei must be one of the most moving on disc, solemn but never static, and bringing the work to a close with a feeling of cautionary repose that seems perfectly tailored to suit the occasion. I wouldn't rate this version higher than the two reference recordings, Bernstein and Munch, listed above, but it's certainly better than Davis' LSO studio recording for Philips. Requiem collectors (you know who you are) should certainly hear it. [9/5/2007]

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Release Date: November 18, 2008


  • UPC: 881488701456


  • Catalog Number: PH07014


  • Label: Hänssler & Profil


  • Number of Discs: 2


  • Composer: Hector Berlioz


  • Conductor: Sir Colin Davis


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Dresden Singakademie, Dresden Staatskapelle, Dresden State Opera Chorus


  • Performer: Keith Ikaia-Purdy



Works:


  1. Grande messe des morts, Op. 5

    Composer: Hector Berlioz

    Ensemble: Dresden Singakademie, Dresden Staatskapelle, Dresden State Opera Chorus

    Performer: Keith Ikaia-Purdy (Tenor)

    Conductor: Sir Colin Davis