Three choirs, a tenor, an orchestra, an organ. Berlioz stopped at nothing to portray his praise to the Lord. Pulling out all stops, the first performance of this work counted 900 performers. But that was done for the golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. This is monumental music.
Three choirs? Let’s see. On this record there is the Wandsworth School Boys Choir, and the London Symphony Chorus. Where is the third? Is one of these split in two? Looking at a definition of the word choir on wikipedia: wiki says it can be a group of any size. So did this lead to the famous First split of the Wandsworth Boys School with the Wandsworth School Boys?
Colin Davis later became Sir and is considered a specialist on Berlioz’ music. He practically built the London Symphony Orchestra, even though it was not until 1995 that he was appointed its principle conductor. He can certainly be seen as one of the greatest conductors ever.
So if this is monumental music from a monumental conductor and a Boys choir right before it’s first split, what do I think of the work itself? Not much. It never really touched me. Berlioz was never my favourite composer.
It is telling that I remember this scene as “or worse, I might get Berlioz!”.