Messe solennelle by Berlioz

With Alpha Classics
Coproduction AIDA-Festival Berlioz, Le Concert Spirituel, Outhere Music France
Recorded in June 2019 at the Chapelle royal du Château de Versailles
during the season of  Château de Versailles Spectacles

Concert produced by Bru Zane France, AIDA-Festival Berlioz, Le Concert Spirituel

Release the 8th of November 2019

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Diamant d'Opéra Magazine

Composed in 1824 by Hector Berlioz at the age of twenty-one and premiered at the church of Saint-Roch in Paris in 1825, the Messe solennelle has come down to us following an eventful history.

Adriana Gonzalez
Julien Behr
Andreas Wolf

Choir and Orchestra Le Concert Spirituel
Conductor, Hervé Niquet

After Berlioz declared that he had destroyed the score, the mass was considered lost until it was rediscovered in Antwerp in 1992. This remarkable work helps us both to appreciate the development of Berlioz’s style – already revolutionary in his early years – and to understand what he owed to his contemporaries, notably Cherubini, whose monumental Requiem Hervé Niquet has already recorded (Alpha 251). Scored for three soloists (soprano, tenor and bass), chorus and orchestra, the work consists of thirteen movements, material from which Berlioz was to reuse in several later works, notably in the ‘Scène aux champs’ of the Symphonie fantastique, which quotes the ‘Gratias’. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death, Hervé Niquet, fascinated by this work – ‘There’s nothing he doesn’t know about dramaturgy and vocal style. At the age of twenty!’ – decided to programme it (concerts at Berlioz Festival of La Côte Saint-André, Festival Radio France Occitanie Montpellier et BOZAR) and record it in the Chapelle Royale of the Château de Versailles.

"It’s rather depressing to learn that the masterpiece you’ve been working on for years was composed by a young man of twenty who had not yet had a single lesson in
composition or orchestration. This devilish fellow knew everything before he learnt it. He was bored by his teachers. And yet the Messe solennelle contains Berlioz’s entire personality: the unique sound, the hysterical lyricism, the new ideas, the rhythmic and harmonic discoveries, the incessant assaults of shock waves, the unprecedented gentleness of devastating tuttis. He alone is capable of combining all this into an incredible and completely addictive hotchpotch.

In short, a sheer genius, who learnt nothing from anyone but received everything from nature, thanks to his sense of observation and his determination to give material form to his intuitions concerning the impact of music on the physiology of his contemporaries."
Hervé Niquet

Berlioz au Festival Radio France Occitanie Montpellier
Berlioz au Festival Berlioz - Côte Saint-André