"If I were threatened with the destruction of the whole of my works save one, I should crave mercy for the Messe des Morts." So wrote Hector Berlioz about what many consider his greatest work, the Grand Mass of the Dead, or, simply, the Requiem. A musical/liturgical form that has captured the fascination of many a composer -- Haydn, Mozart, Durufle, Franck, to name just a few -- the Requiem Mass is both mournful and jubilant. The "Dies Irae" can make you tremble at your core with the thought of eternal judgment and damnation, but the "Sanctus," the "Pie Jesu" and the "Agnus Dei" can be rapturously hopeful. This week, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Bramwell Tovey, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, under the direction of Grant Gershon, present Classical Thursdays: Berlioz's Requiem , an entire evening devoted to the 90-minute megamasterpiece, with James Taylor, renowned tenor and professor of sacred music at Yale University, as soloist.
Thu., Sept. 10, 8 p.m., 2009