Katherine takes up the 'Presto Recommends' baton this week and selects some favourite recordings of works by Hector Berlioz.
3rd October 2011
With a massed choir of English and Polish singers and an orchestra which deploys as many authentic nineteenth-century instruments as possible, McCreesh plays up not only the sound and fury of Berlioz’s super-sized Requiem but also the astonishing range of textures which the young composer summons.
The first in a new series of releases from the world-renowned conductor Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort. Called Winged Lion (the symbol of Venice and of St Mark, as well as the Gabrieli Consort), the label will release recordings of Renaissance and Baroque repertoire, as well as large-scale 19th-and 20th-century oratorio, including on the near horizon, Howells’ Requiem Recorded in Poland as part of the Wratislava Cantans Festival (of which McCreesh is artistic director) this staggering performance of Berlioz’s ‘Grand Mass for the Dead’ is produced by a force of over 400 performers – drawn from the Gabrieli Consort and Players, the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and students from Chetham’s School of Music.
Future releases with McCreesh will include Mendelssohn’s Elijah [with Simon Keenlyside] , Haydn’s The Seasons, Britten’s War Requiem and a re-recording of their famed disc ‘A Venetian Coronation’, about which Gramophone had said: “Without doubt, this is one of the finest records of Italian Renaissance polyphony to appear for a long time”. The year also marks the ensemble’s 30th anniversary, and the 400th anniversary of the death of Giovanni Gabrieli whose music, along with that of Andrea Gabrieli, features on the recording.
Founded in 1982 by artistic director Paul McCreesh, the Gabrieli Consort & Players are world-renowned interpreters of great choral and instrumental repertoire, spanning from the Renaissance to the present day. Their performances encompass virtuosic a cappella programmes, mould-breaking reconstructions of music for historical events and major works from the oratorio tradition. With Paul McCreesh, the Gabrielis are regular visitors to the world’s most prestigious concert halls and festivals and have built a large and distinguished discography.