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Berlioz: Messe Solennelle [Import]

John Eliot GardinerAudio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)


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MOZART 111 combines the best of the Austrian master's music with the best of Deutsche Grammophon's Mozart recordings

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The outstanding English conductor, John Eliot Gardiner, first took up the baton at the age of fifteen. As an undergraduate student at Cambridge University, he toured the Middle East conducting the Oxford and Cambridge Singers before founding the Monteverdi Choir in 1964. After graduating, he studied with Thurston Dart in London and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 15, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Phillips
  • ASIN: B00000418T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,217 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Messe Solennelle: Introduction
2. Messe Solennelle: Kyrie
3. Messe Solennelle: Gloria
4. Messe Solennelle: Gratias
5. Messe Solennelle: Quoniam
6. Messe Solennelle: Credo
7. Messe Solennelle: Incarnatus
8. Messe Solennelle: Crucifixus
9. Messe Solennelle: Resurrexit (original version)
10. Messe Solennelle: Motet pour l'Offertoire
11. Messe Solennelle: Sanctus
12. Messe Solennelle: O salutaris
13. Messe Solennelle: Agnus Dei
14. Messe Solennelle: Domine, salvum
15. Messe Solennelle: Resurrexit (revised version)

Editorial Reviews

World Premiere Recording.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique glimpse into the Berlioz of the future. December 11, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Two hundred years ago today, Louis-Hector Berlioz was born. This is a day for me to comment on a few of my favorite performances of his works, some of them "favorites by acclamation" and others simply those in which I find special merit, enough so that they are frequently in my CD players.

Never mind that Hector Berlioz destroyed this student work. It is our good fortune that a copy of the manuscript survived these efforts, and moreover ended up in the hands of John Eliot Gardiner, who directs his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Montiverdi Choir plus soloists in this premiere recording. (The story of the discovery of the manuscript, believed - or at least hoped - by Berlioz to have been destroyed, is very well set out in the comprehensive booklet notes, as are Gardiner's comments on the work and "getting it to work.")

This is truly "Hector in the raw," the work of a 20-year-old Paris Conservatory student barely trained in the essentials (a burden he would carry around, on and off, throughout his life, thanks to his critics, not to mention his own proclivities toward writing music having few if any harmonic or rhythmic antecedents and which others couldn't fathom). The work clearly has its weaknesses: structural, harmonic, melodic, rhythmic and melodic immaturities simply flood the work, and it is little wonder that, after only two performances, Berlioz designated the work for the scrapheap.

But either he kept good notebooks or he had total recall. So much of this work showed up later (suitably transmogrified, of course, but far from totally disguised) in several of his mature masterpieces: the Symphonie fantastique, the Requiem, the Te Deum, and even his mid-period opera Benvenuto Cellini.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Masterpiece October 12, 2007
Format:Audio CD
Even when he abandoned (though he said he "destroyed") this work, Berlioz knew that it was pregnant with possibilities. We know that he admired this older material because he used so much of it in other works. From this work alone we get themes later heard in the Symphonie Fantastique, the Requiem, Te Deum, and Benvenuto Cellini.

One of the reasons this early choral of work of Hector's works so well, and is enjoyable today is the reason that makes all his works interesting: the guy was not interested in mere "filler" to fix his structure. He poured all his creativty (the imagination of a Nineteen year old!) into this work. The sections are all fairly short and to the point...there is almost no meandering musical themes for the sake of structure. Some of the opening sections however, can be a little grating. The openings to the "Credo" and "Crucifixus" are a little awkward.

But taken as a whole, this is one amazing work. This is possibly the single best work from a major composer written in his/her young years, with the exception of Shostakovich's 1st symphony. Mozart doesn't count because he is a special case.

Berlioz's early masterpiece is more colourful than most Masses by other composers, more interesting, and a whole lot more enjoyable. Fully recommended.

P.S....don't worry about the fact that this music contains themes from several of his other works. You'll be so enchanted that you won't mind.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Berlioz Manifestation February 6, 2006
Format:Audio CD
The Hector Berlioz Messe Solennelle was discovered and premiered just more than a decade ago, and it surprises me that it hasn't seen more performances since then. It is a youthful work (Berlioz was 20) and it visibly has spawns of future famous works (Symphony Fantastique, Requiem, Te Deum, and operas). Scored for orchestra, chorus, and soprano, tenor, and bass soloists, Berlioz's mature qualities also exist in the score, great melodic writing, interesting orchestral colors and timbres, as well as creative and forward-looking harmonic treatments.

The mass itself is divided into many sections, some I was familiar with, others, not so much: Introduction, Kyrie, Gloria (Gloria, Gratias, and Quoniam), Credo (Credo, Incarnatus, Crucifixus, and Resurrexit), Offertory Motet, Sanctus, O Salutaris, Agnus Dei, and Domine Salvum. The brief introduction's purpose is to set the "D" pitch center that Berlioz will play with throughout, and leads into the opening murky Kyrie fugue; the grimness is aided by offbeat orchestra strikes. As the text moves to Christe, the minor turns to major, but the Kyrie fugue returns; an acceleration to the end however, leads to a triumphant close. The three sections of the Gloria are greatly contrasted: The highly melodic Gloria uses the voices as instrumental accompaniment; the result is an almost witty setting, nearly sounding like Poulenc; Berlioz was certainly ahead of his time. The peaceful Gratias is very pastoral with a gentle lilt; written for SSA to begin, a stirring and emotional orchestration occurs at the bass's entrance near the end. The vivacious Quoniam is a treacherous fugue at whirlwind speeds; a great showstopper.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Used CD Surprise January 17, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I found this lonely CD wallowing in a used CD bin. I have given it a new home and have been amazed by how it shines. The Kyrie flows as gently and caressingly as a loving whisper which culminates in a suitable outburst of pure joy. There is a terrific cushion of melody that Berlioz employs in the Gloria & Gratias. Both versions of the Resurrexit included on this disc are stellar and recall my favorite passages from the Requiem. This may be pedestrian Berlioz, but it is truly a lovely mass setting and not the least bit disappointing.
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