Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts

In September 2010, Gabrieli recorded Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts. A first in many ways – the first recording for our own Winged Lion label, the first recording sponsored by National Forum of Music, Wroclaw and our first collaboration with the wonderful musicians of Wroclaw.

“...the results are fascinating... The ‘Requiem’ and ‘Kyrie’ are spacious and mournfully reflective, the ‘Dies Irae’ builds to a simply awesome ‘Tuba Mirum’, while the unaccompanied ‘Quaerens me’ displays a Renaissance-like transparency. With some choral specialists orchestral focus and detail may suffer, but the cor anglais and bassoon lines in the ‘Quid sum miser’ are delicate, the ‘Lacrymosa’ robustly syncopated and even the weird flute and trombone lines in the ‘Hostias’ convince...”BBC Music Magazine

“Certainly not for the faint-hearted either in terms of its enormous scale or its spectrum of powerful, visionary expression. The impact is overwhelming ... McCreesh has achieved something quite out of the ordinary in this performance of the Requiem ... The contrapuntal intricacy of Berlioz’s choral writing is done with precision and firm accents, the haunted atmosphere of the ‘Quid sum miser’ interpreted with restrained, eloquently inflected choral singing and poignant instrumental interjections...”Gramophone Choice, Gramophone Magazine

“ fine an account as I have ever heard ... it sounds wonderful, overwhelming in the great apocalyptic tuttis, but at the same time beautifully clear in detail, with a lovely bloom on the individual choral and instrumental lines...”The Sunday Times

“...the chief glory is the choral singing, superb in its fervour and weight, with the difficult tenor line notably strong and ecstatic...”The Guardian

“...the loveliness of the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir; or the quiet corners of the final sections, when rest eternal beckons and the instruments’ individual colours rise to the fore...”The Times

“...McCreesh’s speeds and intensity are ideally paced: calm yet sweetly shaped and controlled as he propels the score forward. ... Taken as a whole this is an intelligent and supremely memorable reading ... McCreesh reflects on every bar and inflects every nuance with taste and good judgement. Far from being a monster, this Grande Messe des Morts is a thing of unexpected delicacy and beauty...”Classical Source

“...I’ve heard some fine recordings of the Berlioz Requiem in the past, including those by Previn, Munch, Mitropoulos and Sir Colin Davis ... This new recording is more than fit to take its place alongside the very best ... Despite Sir Colin’s great wisdom and perceptiveness as a Berlioz interpreter I think it must now yield the palm. McCreesh’s interpretation is every bit as committed and inspired as Sir Colin’s. However, he has the edge in three crucial ways. Firstly, the instrumental sonorities are more intriguing and, surely, more authentic, even if this isn’t an entirely ‘period’ performance. Secondly, though Sir Colin’s chorus give him everything they’ve got, McCreesh’s choir is outstanding... Finally, the recorded sound on this new release is superb and manages better than any I’ve previously heard to render Berlioz’s monumental vision susceptible to domestic listening. At last we have a recording that, in every respect, does full justice to the Grande Messe des Morts...”Music Web International

“...Unquestionably, this is my Recording of the Year. Paul McCreesh assembles Anglo-Polish forces similar to those specified by the composer and cleverly mixes period and modern instruments. Superb singing and playing and an authoritative interpretation are captured in magnificent sound...”Music Web International Recordings of the Year

“...The word ‘ambitious’ doesn’t even come close to describing this inaugural release on Paul McCreesh’s Winged Lion label ... McCreesh has done something genuinely new and interesting with the Berlioz Requiem. If future releases on Winged Lion are as distinctive and accomplished as this, it promises to be one of the more worthwhile of the many own-label projects currently taking over the market.”

“...The chorus sings with utter dedication, buying into McCreesh’s vision with complete conviction and giving it their all ... The orchestral playing is also top notch ... Holding it all together is the special vision of McCreesh himself ... he succeeds unassailably in the task of making sense of this mammoth beast. There is a unity of vision and clarity of purpose that I have never heard before in this work. This, combined with the excellence of the playing and engineering, must surely make this now a first choice, nudging the recordings by Colin Davis and Eliahu Inbal off their pedestals...”Music Web Recording of the Year Review

“...Anyone in search of a transformative listening experience, Berlioz agnostics among them, should make this a priority purchase. Expect to hear terrific choral singing...”Classic FM Magazine