One of Berlioz's greatest works, the Grand Messe des Morts is written for Tenor Solo, SSTTBB Chorus and Orchestra. The scale of this work should not be underestimated: it runs at an hour and a quarter and the orginal scoring included no fewer than 16 timpani and four extra brass choirs! However, not all of its music is massive (the extra forces explode onto the scene in the Tuba mirum portion of the Dies irae sequence in No. 2 and then disappear). Indeed much of it is quite intimate -- for example the slender No. 3 Quid sum miser , which immediately follows the outburst in No. 2, or the opening of No. 9 Sanctus , which features the solo tenor. And the Requiem ends in absolute tenderness, the Lamb of God (No. 10 Agnus Dei) having taken away the sins of the world and accepted the dead into a new world, of which we mortals can hear only vague echoes -- timpani strokes left over from the explosive Last Judgment held earlier in the mass, now distant and gentle. This, the Schirmer Edition of the vocal score contains a piano accompaniment arranged by Leopold Damrosch.
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