Saturday, November 2, 2013

REQUIEM

Wolfang Amadeus Mozart

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

10 comments:

  1. Excellent, though I thought the contralto a bit mismatched. Beautiful voice, but as is often the case, lost beside the soprano.

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  2. My favorite requiem!

    I say that because this is the requiem that has the best choruses ever, IMO.

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  3. Did you know this was Mozart's last work? He died after completing only the first eight measures of the Lacrimosa.

    Most of the work was in "sketch form" at the time of his death at age 36 in 1791. It was completed at the behest of Mozart's widow, Constanze, by Franz Sussmayr, who composed several of the movements himself based on incomplete instructions from Mozart and reworking much of the material from the ealrier movements. Sussmayr added a glorious footnote to musical history with this one remarkable achievement.

    A more complete version of the story may be found in this excellent summary in Wikipedia. I assure you it is most intriguing:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requiem_(Mozart)

    Despite all of this, the Requiem stands as one of the greatest masterworks in all choral music literature, to which anyone with good ears surely would attest

    This performance conducted by John Eliot Gardiner is the very finest I have ever experienced. It has been my privilege to have sung the work, myself, as a member of the chorus when I was a conservatory student. Like the superb chorus in the recording we sang the work from memory. At that time we followed a performance tradition abandoned by Maestro Gardiner, and made an awkward pause -- very deliberately -- after the eight bar of the Lacrimosa to show awareness and respect for the moment of Mozart's death.

    Whether our performance was particularly good or not isn't for me to say, but it makes no difference either way. Just having had the experience of participating directly in such an event added greatly to our understanding and appreciation of musical genius at its highest level.

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  4. Hey, Viburnum, no one is bonnier than Barbara Bonney.

    I'm glad you were so taken with her. It shows you have excellent taste in more ways than one. ;-)

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  5. Sofie von Otter is certainly no slouch of a singer,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3ALWvtvt_U

    She just lacks the volume to hold her own with Bonney. A situation easily remedied in a recording studio, but one of the perils of live performances.

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  6. Not to argue, my friend, but I assure you -- as something of a minor expert -- that the blend in this ensemble is absolutely perfect. The parts are not meant to be competitive.

    I know Ms Otters work very well, and she is doing exactly what Mr. Gardiner wants here, and because I have so much respect for Mr. Gardiner's understanding and expertise I am sure this performance is as close as we're ever going to get to what Mozart, himself, heard in his mind.

    Sussmayr, the man who finished the composition for Mozart, must have had the same uncanny understanding of what was needed.

    We'll never know what Mozart, himself, would have written had he lived to finish the Requiem, but I can't believe he wouldn't be pleased -- and grateful --at what Sussmayr was able to produce.

    It's almost enough to make one believe in Spiritualism. ;-)

    At any rate, I'm very glad you listened. Thank you for the visit.

    We're featuring Brahms tomorrow.

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  7. "We're featuring Brahms tomorrow."

    Hopefully not Beethoven's 10th >;-)

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  8. Beethoven's 10th?

    Not read yet. I'm still working on it, and I don't even have his sketches to guide me. Neither do I have the blessing of total deafness. <):-c

    Ain't it a shame?

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  9. "Beethoven's 10th?"

    Surely you've read that the Brahms' 1st was christened that by Hans von Bülow? Apparently intended as a compliment, Brahms took it as an accusation that the work was derivative. There is, I think, some truth to both perspectives.

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