Talk:Requiem (Berlioz)

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Don't have the complete percussion battery on hand, but I will update that. I am pretty sure each timpanist has only two drums, hence 16 timpani, 8 timpanists, but I will check on that too. There's also some interesting notes in the score about the string count that I'd like to include. For now I've changed the timpani to 16 unless you know otherwise. Thanks Andy for adding all the links MarkBuckles 18:52, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Done MarkBuckles 15:54, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
ARE THERE HARPS in the requiem? I really don't think so. Please remove the harps in the orchestration section if they don't exist. I am not sure, so I am not acting. -- A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 16:21, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
I have a copy of the score in front of me, and it doesn't list harp on the orchestration page. – flamurai (t) 16:01, 6 December 2006 (UTC)


We need sources for the quotes attributed to Berlioz. --MarkBuckles 19:33, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

I believe that most are of the website provided in the article. A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 17:07, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

second movement orchestration[edit]

2. Dies irae - Tuba mirum In the second movement, there seems to be 32 timpani, four bass drums and four tam-tams. That is contradicting to the orchestration before mentioned. There are only 16, 2, and 4, as stated in the orchestration section. I am fixing it. A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 14:42, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I may have gotten that wrong. Don't have the score in front of me right now. Thanks. --MarkBuckles 02:23, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I fixed the second movement, not the orchestration section. A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 20:16, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Description of Movments[edit]

This section does not seem very encyclopedic to me. I think it either needs to be cut or heavily reworked. Thoughts? --MarkBuckles 02:24, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I am not sure how to rework this referred section. Maybe it should be just a large paragraph. If it doesn't work, it may have to be taken out of the article. I will change the section to a few paragraphs. Revert if not pleased. Excuse me for a belated reply. A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 20:09, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Done. I am somewhat satisfied. How is it? A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 20:15, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

I think it looks much better in paragraph form. Nice job. I copyedited the prose and made some additions and cuts. -- MarkBuckles 10:02, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Alto horn[edit]

did it exist yet? Maybe the horn in A was a regular French horn in A. A Wang (talk/contrb.) 19:37, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

I'll take another look to verify the orchestration, but I'm pretty sure I just copied it out of the full score. I didn't even know what an alto horn was so I wouldn't have assumed it for a horn in A. MarkBuckles (talk) 05:35, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I checked "requiem berlioz alto horn" on and this article itself came up. There is also the article that copies this wiki article. A Wang (talk/contrb.) 13:01, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
The Alto Horn is part of the saxhorn family, and not what Berlioz is asking for. the score calls for horns in "A Alto, Bb basso" in addition to others. The reason for this is that some crooks where available in 2 octaves, including A and Bb. The distinction is made by calling the smaller crook 'alto' and the larger one 'bass'. see Natural Horn.
Also, the way the horns are listed in the instrumentation, as having specific horns in certain keys, is not accurate. The 12 horn players would each bring several crooks, and would change throughout the piece. the same is true of the Clarinets and trumpets. I am changing the way these are listed to match the layout in the Dover edition of the score, Though I wonder if it would be better to remove the key designations altogether, as they're only useful for the performers. Bobthb 07:45, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Off-stage brass ensembles[edit]

I realise that it still needs citation, but just to confirm that the numbers and information about the four off-stage brass ensembles is correct, as I was lucky enough to be one of the four ophicleides/tubas (South band) at a recent production of the work in the Royal Albert Hall, London. Tomayres (talk) 17:24, 10 January 2008 (UTC)


An anonymous user replaced, ‘tubas,’ in the instrumentation of the fourth brass choirs, with, ‘ophicleides,’ at 4 January 2008. A flag was put on that statement only five minutes later. It has been like that ever since. Should the word, ‘ophicleides,’ be removed? ♫ The Grand Harp ♫ (talk) 19:44, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

As the tagger (and initial creator of the article) I vote to just revert the whole thing, really. In fact, I will do it right now. If there is any opposition afterwards, please voice it. — Andy W. (talk/contrb.) 23:56, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I am not the one who made this edit but I would just like to input that the original score names the four tubas in South Choir as ophicleides and not tubas, although there are parts specifically for tuba in the main orchestral body. Tomayres (talk) 18:15, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

"The proportioned properties, intended or not, provide a state of equilibrium and stability."[edit]

I hardly think this is worth stating. These properties are completely inaudible, and they are almost certainly happenstance. so what is the point? they CERTAINLY do not provide ANYTHING, let alone "a state of equilibrium and stability." maybe a completely impossible to detect way(by hearing at least, the main way of observing sound.)

this to me sounds very much like the kind of "filler" material that ends up in concert program notes. not any, let alone much, consequence, and made to sound otherwise.

just my "matter of fact" opinion.

(I've always "despised" such filler, in program notes and in the lingo used when talking about classical music.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:30, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree entirely, so I've removed the section. It doesn't amount to anything more than trivia. Telos (talk) 10:49, 25 February 2009 (UTC)


That section should be clarified so that the ten movements are explicitly numbered; someone reading the article would have no way of knowing what the ten movements are from the information presented. Samer (talk) 03:40, 5 August 2011 (UTC)


What makes the listed recordings "notable?" It would be nice to have some indication of notability, especially since I know that at least one of them has never been very highly regarded... --Wspencer11 (talk to me...) 01:12, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

First performance[edit]

Anybody know where the premiere took place? For a piece that depends so much on physical space, I'm surprised that there's no mention of this detail. I have a dim idea that it was at the Invalides but I can't prove it. --Wspencer11 (talk to me...) 01:15, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Good memory! Here is the reference:
  • Locke, Ralph P. 2000. “The Religious Works”. In The Cambridge Companion to Berlioz, edited by Peter Bloom, 96–107. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521596386.
On page 102: "A few months later [on 5 December 1837], the death of a French general wounded in the war of conquest against Algeria gave occasion for a true state funeral, complete with the long-delayed première of Berlioz’s Requiem, in the vast stone chapel of the Hôtel des Invalides (a hospital and residence for military veterans)."—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:43, 31 July 2012 (UTC)


In the introduction and under the "Instrumentation" section, the four brass ensembles ("Orchestras of the north, east, west and south" respectively) are described as being "offstage". As far as I can make out, they're not - they're very definitely onstage. Berlioz describes them as: "(Ces quatre petits orchestres d'instrumentes de cuivre doivent être placés isolément, aux quatres angles de la grand masse chorale et instrumental...)", which translates as near as dammit to: "The four small orchestras of brass instruments should be placed separately [or in isolation], at the four corners of the main choral and instrumental body." We must envisage the main body, orchestra presumably in front, with two brass ensembles in front of the orchestra, one to the left side and one to the right, and two more behind the choir, one again on the left and the other on the right. The late Andrew Davis' 2000 Proms performance (on YouTube, starting at about 30:40), performs it something like this - as far as I can make out, he places the four brass ensembles at the four corners of the choir only, probably for reasons of space, although this would somewhat weaken the "nearby and distant" distinction that was probably Berlioz' intention. This also applies to the performance I had the immense privilege of singing in decades ago. (I doubt that there would be many performance spaces, sacred or secular, in the world that would have four separate offstage spaces around the main stage!)

If he'd meant "offstage", I'm sure he would have spelled it out - as he does at the beginning of the Symphonie Fantastique's third movement, "Scene aux champs", where the cor anglais in the orchestra dialogues with an oboe "Derrière la scène" ("Behind the stage").

Should both occurrences of the word "offstage" simply be deleted? Or have I misunderstood something?

--Anselm (talk) 13:59, 27 December 2013 (UTC)