Berlioz, Hector. (1803-1869)
GRANDE MESSE DES MORTS / Dédiée à Mr. le comte de Gasparin, pair de France... Op. 5. - [FULL SCORE]
Paris: Maurice Schlesinger. . First edition.
Tall upright folio. Title , 1 - 156 pp. Engraved throughout ("Gravé par Mlle. Lard"), without plate number. A fine, crisply printed and wide-margined copy, with scattered foxing, small stain upper right margin of first 60 pages, not affecting within the plate. Contemporary brown boards, trimmed front wrapper affixed to the front. This copy from the Collection of Andre Meyer. Hopkinson 20A (title page illustrated, plate IIA) ; D. Kern Holoman, Catalogue of the Works of Hector Berlioz, p.160; Hirsch IV, 700. Rare. Worldcat records but six copies.
This is the full score of one of Berlioz's grandest and best-known works, with a tremendous orchestration of woodwind and brass instruments, including four antiphonal offstage brass ensembles placed at the corners of the concert stage. The famous 'Rex tremendæ', with its eight pairs of timpani, is engraved here on up to 32 staves per page. The vocal score did not appear until 1882.
In 1837, Adrien de Gasparin, the Minister of the Interior of France, asked Berlioz to compose a Requiem Mass to remember soldiers who died in the Revolution of July 1830. The premiere was conducted by François Antoine Habeneck on December 5, 1837 in commemoration of General Damrémont and the soldiers killed in the Siege of Constantine. According to Berlioz himself, Habeneck put down his baton during the dramatic Tuba mirum (part of the Dies irae movement), and took a pinch of snuff. Berlioz rushed to the podium to conduct himself, saving the performance from disaster. The premiere was a complete success.