Requiem (Berlioz)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The first edition (Paris, 1838)

The Grande Messe des Morts ( German "Große Totenmesse"), as the work is called in the original, is Hector Berlioz 's setting of the traditional Requiem text with minor changes or adjustments. The composition bears the opus number 5, although it was written later than, say, the Symphonie Fantastique (op.14).


The Requiem was commissioned by Comte Adrien de Gasparin on behalf of the French state in 1837 for the victims of the July Revolution of 1830 and was then to be performed on the anniversary of the death of Marshal Édouard Adolphe Mortier , a victim of the 1835 assassination attempt by Joseph Fieschi .

The premiere did not take place in July as planned, but only on December 5, 1837 as part of an act of state mourning for General Charles-Marie Denys de Damrémont, who died in the Algerian campaign, in the Paris Invalides under the direction of François-Antoine habeneck .


At that time, Berlioz had nothing less than the greatest work ever written in mind. The orchestral apparatus is correspondingly huge:

In the score , Berlioz added the preliminary remark that these figures are only relative and that the apparatus can be doubled or tripled if necessary.

Formal structure

The Grande Messe des Morts is divided into 10 sentences :

  1. Introit and Kyrie
  2. Dies irae
  3. Quid sum miser
  4. Rex tremendae
  5. Quaerens me
  6. Lacrimosa
  7. Offertory
  8. Hostias
  9. Sanctus
  10. Agnus Dei


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Steinberg, Michael: Choral masterworks: a listener's guide . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2005, pp. 61 .