Peter Brawley | McComb, MS USA | 01/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a splendid DVD, spiritual rather than dramatic, deep rather than spectacular, always musical, very moving. In concert halls, there's often a tendency to emphasise the drama in this work. Trumpets on all sides, and all that. Well, they are on all sides here too, but tempos tend to the gentle, the chorus sings with care and passion, and phrasing is always loyal to the text. The tenor Keith Lewis is excellent. The sound engineeers have dealt with cathedral reverberation by softening the sound somewhat, so the experience is not quite as crisp as hearing the Requiem in the Festival Hall. But reverence does not soften the Dies irae and Tuba mirum, which are appropriately engulfing. Not quite as good as being there, of course, but I cannot imagine a closer recorded approximation."
Great Promise But No Punch
Mike in Victorville | Victorville, CA United States | 01/11/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great work, but unlike Bach, Mozart or Brahms, it does not "sing itself". The musical forces here are ample, but there is no power in the performance. Perhaps it is lost in the acoustics. You want to love this DVD - visually it's wonderful! - but all the energy seems to have been absorbed into the architecture."
I wouldn't be without this DVD, but ...
RENS | Dover, NH USA | 11/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is indeed a first-rate performace of the Berlioz Requiem, but the performance venue takes the edge off of it. Given the composer's original conception of the work, the Requiem should be done in a grand, cathedral sized space if at all possible. But in this case the choir and sanctuary of the cathedral are too narrow to allow the sound to spread out. The singers and players are crammed together. Under the circumstances, Colin Davis leads the excellent musicians of the BRSO and Chorus in a loving and thoughtful performance, but he cannot bring them to the heights achieved in his great 1970 recording for Philips with the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (audio CD only).
I wouldn't discourage anyone from purchasing this DVD, if they can find a copy, but I would recommend as a better performance all in all the one readily available on a Kultur DVD with Leonard Bernstein conducting a great assembly of French musicians in the very space for which Berlioz wrote the Grande Messe des morts, Les Invalides in Paris."