The London Symphony Orchestra announced today that Sir Simon Rattle conducts a rare performance of Berlioz’s colossal work Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale in one of the few locations that can do justice to the scale and ambition of the work: St Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday 23 June 2022 at 7pm. This special gala concert which includes Messaien’s equally huge apocalyptic work Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum will raise funds for the LSO Always Playing Appeal, supporting the LSO’s future.

The LSO and Sir Simon will create a musical happening on a scale that Berlioz and Messiaen would have recognised celebrating the City of London, its famous landmarks and historic outdoor public spaces. The concert begins in nearby Paternoster Square with musicians processing to St Paul’s, up to the grand entrance into the vast soaring interior. Once inside the Cathedral, two of Messiaen’s most personal organ masterpieces will provide a complement to one of his own and Berlioz’ greatest musical compositions.

Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director of the LSO said, “The Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale wasunprecedented when it was created: a towering monument in sound, written to be performed in an enormous public space and scored for a small army of marching musicians. We will start our event with more than eighty musicians processing from nearby Paternoster Square then go onto perform Messiaen’s Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, another huge work for percussion, wind and woodwind which demands to be played in the open air or in suitably cavernous spaces. The Orchestra and I are thrilled to celebrate the City of London with these wonderful works.”

Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director added; “The LSO has performed at St Paul’s many times over the years, as a concert venue it provides a spectacle and acoustic like no other. Performing these special large-scale celebratory works is a fitting tribute to the LSO’s long and happy relationship with the City of London during this period of regeneration.”

As the LSO and other charitable arts organisations across the world emerge from the most tumultuous periods of a generation, the LSO is facing the most financially challenging years in the organisation’s history. To sustain the Orchestra through the next three to five years, the Always Playing Appeal aims to preserve the artistic excellence of the Orchestra and continue to fulfil its mission to inspire hearts and minds through world-leading music-making.