in: News & Features

April 8, 2014

BU’s Berlioz: Sights and Sounds

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On Monday night, the Boston University Symphony Orchestra & Symphonic Chorus under Ann Howard Jones with tenor Christopher Hutchinson, performed Hector Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Mortes, Op. 5, at  Boston’s Symphony Hall. Scored for a very large orchestra with offstage brass sections and choral groups placed throughout the venue,“This is truly a 3-D experience,” explained Benjamín Juárez, Dean of Boston University College of Fine Arts. “The orchestra and choral sections are to the front, to the sides, to the back, creating an enveloping sound. Not only is it an incredible experience for BU student musicians, it’s a visual and listening opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.”

For those who missed it, including this would-be reviewer who sang the work under Seiji Ozawa and Leopold Stokowski and very much had wanted to attend, one can hear a streaming version here. And as complement to that stream, BMInt is pleased to publish some excellent photos by Michael J. Lutch.

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2 Comments

  1. All through the performance-as I sat in Symphony Hall-I kept thinking how much old Hector would have loved this performance-true to not only the utilization of the off-stage brass ensembles –
    in situ-at the four cardinal points in the hall, as Berlioz specified in the score,but even the transcendent voice of the tenor soloist, placed in the gallery in the back of the hall-provided a magical “floating effect” from above -with the great acoustic envelope of Symphony Hall as the carrier.

    A superb effort from all of the BU forces involved under conductor Ann Howard Jones.

    One could almost sense the spirit of Charles Munch in the hall during the performance.

    Ron Barnell

    Comment by Ron Barnell — April 9, 2014 at 6:27 pm

  2. We found notice of this concert at the last minute and are thrilled we did. This was our first hearing of this wonderful piece by Berlioz and the BU performance was first class. The long work was paced beautifully throughout, the orchestra was in fine fettle, the chorus sang with conviction, the words of the Mass easy to understand. As the first commentator said Berlioz would have approved heartily.

    Carol and Rob

    Comment by Robert Caverly-Paxton — April 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

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