London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Chorus
Barry Banks tenor
Sir Colin Davis conductor
Berlioz Requiem (Grande Messe des Morts)
The London Symphony Orchestra and the legendary conductor Sir Colin Davis took part in our first Festival in 1962 – indeed Sir Colin directed the Festival’s first ever concert – and they will perform together in two special celebratory performances, joined by the impressive London Symphony Chorus.
A popular highlight of various City of London Festivals in the past, Berlioz’s monumental Requiem nevertheless remains a rare and special treat – and a fitting celebration for our fiftieth birthday. Berlioz wrote to his friend Humber Ferrand in a letter of 11 January 1867: ‘If I were threatened with the burning of my entire oeuvre, except for one work, it would be for the Messe des Morts that I would ask for mercy’. Poignant, reflective music is contrasted with brass ensembles blazing away in the four extremities of the Cathedral and twelve timpani thundering in dramatic fashion beneath the dome!
St Paul’s Cathedral, with its magnificent dome, provides cavernous acoustics not unlike those of Paris’ Les Invalides, for which Berlioz wrote the Grande Messe des Morts in 1837. Do not miss the opportunity to witness Sir Colin Davis – one of the world’s most revered Berlioz experts and one of Britain’s finest conductors – lead over 200 musicians through this immense work.