Riga Dome

State Choir LATVIJA

Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

Orchestra RĪGA

Andrew Staples, tenor (UK)

Conductor Māris Sirmais



Hector Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts


On the 26th August at Riga Cathedral, conductor Māris Sirmais will offer a rare opportunity to hear one of the most monumental Requiems: French Romantic Hector Berlioz’s 1837 ten-part work for tenor, choir and large orchestra, which the composer intended to be performed by around 400 musicians. Continuing the tradition of ideas on the pomposity of French music, Berlioz was enraptured with the idea of creating monumental, epic theatre with his mass, in order to honour the fallen of the July 1830 French Revolution in a grand ceremony. “My brain felt as though it would explode with the pressure of ideas. The outline of one piece was barely sketched before the next formed itself in my mind,” wrote Berlioz.

To enable himself to write down his floods of music and ideas, Berlioz came up with a special type of shorthand. After the scandalous premiere, the composer gained wide recognition of his creative genius, dispelling doubts about the originality of the young Frenchman’s ideas. A performance of the Requiem leaves just as powerfully grand an impression today. During his lifetime, Berlioz reworked the score of the Requiem twice (1852/1867), making the final changes just two years before his death. This performance of Berlioz’s Requiem will feature British tenor Andrew Staples, the State Choir LATVIJA, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra and the Wind Orchestra RIGA.

August 26, 2023