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Choir, Utah Symphony bring life to 'Requiem'

Published: Wednesday, July 1 2015 11:17 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — When Hector Berlioz published his "Requiem" in 1837, he called for a chorus of about 200 voices but specified, "If space permits, the chorus may be doubled or tripled, and the orchestra be proportionately increased."

Likely Berlioz would have approved of Friday night's performance of his masterwork by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Utah Symphony.

The choir's 375 voices were balanced with proportionate orchestra to evoke the majesty the composer called for. The work was commissioned to honor those killed protecting King Louis-Philippe from assassination two years prior. Thus, the music is pervaded as much by patriotic emotion as by religious fervor.

It was the latest offering in the O. C. Tanner Gift of Music series. The concerts are presented every two or three years as a gift to the community from the Salt Lake City businessman and philanthropist and his wife Grace, in cooperation with their friend, the late Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It was the first Tanner concert to be presented under the baton of Thierry Fischer, the Swiss conductor who is beginning his first full season with the Utah Symphony this year.

The presentation was designed to take full advantage of the famous acoustical properties of its venue, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, with brass instruments strategically placed just above and just below the choir seats.

The concert will be repeated again tonight at 7:30 in the tabernacle. Free tickets have already been distributed, but seating is released to standbys 30 minutes prior to the event.

Email: rscott@desnews.com

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