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Mozart's Requiem is one thing and Berlioz's is quite another.

Mozart's score calls for 7 pieces of brass and 1 set of timpani along with woodwinds, strings and chorus.

Berlioz's score is for 20 pieces of brass, 16 sets of timpani, 10 pairs of cymbals, woodwinds, strings, chorus and 38 additional brass instruments divided into 4 brass bands.

Mozart's Requiem has balance, form, proportion.

Berlioz has an atomic explosion when all 58 brass instruments play together with 16 sets of timpani during the Dies Irae.

Berlioz had the premiere of his work played at the state funeral of the fallen governor of Algeria--killed during the siege of Constantine.

The war department footed the bill and allowed Berlioz to have over 400 performers in the orchestra and chorus, plus one tenor soloist.

Don't get the wrong idea about the Berlioz Requiem. It has a spirituality to it and the tenor solo in the Sanctus is absolutely beautiful.

However, the omnipotence of the Dies Irae is the main draw to this music.


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nan shartel Nov. 5, 2010 @ 4:33 p.m.

isn't it interesting that this French Composer and Conductor out Germaned Mozart..a Wagner hater his friendship with Liszt was tenuous...this piece has that thick phonic determination often rendered by the romantics of his time

i think his sensibilities as a fine Conductor helped a great deal with the kind of music he wrote

thx so much for this superb music!!!


nan shartel Nov. 5, 2010 @ 4:46 p.m.


The Music is so intense, in this scene Berlioz changes the musical style so much and creates this unnatural masterpiece. It almost sounds as if he knows exactly what hell sounds like and he transforms that sound into something we can all understand. It's stunning.

What an avant-guardist Berlioz! Just genial! At the same time he wrote this unbelievable music Verdi was still composing his early oom pah pah operas.

as an orchestrator he was without peer


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