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100 instrumentalists, 200 singers and 1 world-class tenor to perform Berlioz’s Requiem at Ely Cathedral.
Saturday 5 July 2014

Teaser posters for Berlioz - click for the full poster

Cambridge Philharmonic under conductor Timothy Redmond will perform Berlioz’s masterpeice Grande messe des morts on Saturday 5 July at Ely Cathedral. Monumental in scale and requiring massive orchestral forces, over 100 instrumentalists, including a dozen timpani and four brass bands, will join a massed choir of 200 hundred singers for this performance - a work perfectly suited to the grandeur of Ely Cathedral.

Performed as part of the 2014 Isle of Ely Festival, the Requiem will be sung by the Cambridge Philharmonic Chorus and Norwich Philharmonic Chorus, alongside one of Britain’s great tenors, Bonaventura Bottone.

A popular Berlioz creation, the Grand Messe des morts remains, however, a rare and special performance treat. The work is synonymous with the late British maestro Sir Colin Davis, a revered Berlioz expert and the inspiration for this concert.

In 2012, Cambridge Philharmonic Music Director, Timothy Redmond assisted Sir Colin for his performances of Berlioz's Grande messe des morts with the London Symphony Orchestra in St Paul's Cathedral. The performances were the last Sir Colin would give with the LSO before he died later that year.

Commenting on the experience, Timothy Redmond said: “I was determined that I should find the opportunity to programme the Grande messe des morts myself whilst I still had strong memories of Sir Colin Davis's approach to this epic score – and so I was delighted when the Cambridge and Norwich Philharmonic Choruses agreed to join forces for our forthcoming performance in Ely.

“It will be all the more memorable for me, because our tenor soloist, Bonaventura Bottone, sang in a performance I played in as a teenager – and his fabulous voice made a great impression on me at the time, as it has on all our audiences whenever he has sung with the Cambridge Philharmonic.”

Premiered in 1837 at the St. Louis des Invalides cathedral in Paris, Berlioz composed his grand requiem with the church space in mind, using the massive performing forces and resonant acoustics to create a gripping and unforgettable spiritual drama.

BERLIOZ: Requiem (Grande Messe des Morts)
Date: Saturday 5th July 2014
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Ely Cathedral
Conductor: Timothy Redmond
Tenor: Bonaventura Bottone
Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra
Cambridge Philharmonic Chorus
Norwich Philharmonic Chorus 
Tickets: £15 £20 £25 (reserved); £10 (unreserved); students and under-18s £10
available on the door or from the Ely Cathedral Box Office.

Notes for editors

Cambridge Philharmonic, founded in 1887, is one of Britain’s oldest and most distinguished music societies. With a full symphony orchestra and a large chorus, the Cambridge Philharmonic presents an annual concert series in King’s College Chapel, Ely Cathedral and the West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.

Cambridge Philharmonic works with an enviable roster of soloists, including in recent seasons, instrumentalists such as Natalie Clein, Alison Balsom, Mark Simpson and Martin Roscoe and singers Joan Rodgers, Emma Bell, Roderick Williams and Jacques Imbrailo. This has been a long tradition of the Philharmonic and in previous decades, artists including Philip Langridge, Peter Pears, Philip Jones and Kathleen Ferrier all performed with the society. Principal and guest conductors have included Sir David Willcocks, Stephen Cleobury, Raymond Leppard and Thomas Adès.

Under their current principal conductor and music director, Timothy Redmond, the Cambridge Philharmonic has developed and expanded its repertoire to include annual opera performances, family concerts and a focus on contemporary music. Critically-acclaimed performances of repertoire as diverse as Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Bernstein’s Candide, Verdi’s La Traviata and Mahler’s Second Symphony have given the Cambridge Philharmonic a profile that extends far beyond its home town.

In addition to its regular performances in the UK, the Cambridge Philharmonic has appeared at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and Prague’s Rudolfinum Concert Hall. The Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra reached an even wider audience when they recorded Ryan Teague’s album Coins and Crosses, which has been featured on BBC radio and TV and heard on radio stations worldwide.

For more information please contact Anne Sales at info@cam-phil.org.uk or call Jo Riches at Spirus on 01638 741830.