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Life Among the Dead: Requiem Masses

This week we’ll venture into hallowed territory with some of the most profound music in the literature, including requiems by Mozart, Verdi, Berlioz, Fauré, Dvořák and Duruflé.

Program 1

Bill begins with the true story of Mozart's requiem mass, made infamous by the Peter Schaffer film Amadeus, as well as excerpts from the piece. We then hear the opening sections of the requiems of Hector Berlioz and Giuseppe Verdi from the following century. We close with Antonin Dvorak's Kyrie, as well as with Mozart's Tuba Mirum movement from his requiem.

Mozart: Requiem, Kyrie & Dies Irae fr. Requiem, K. 626
Concentus Musicus Wien/Harnoncourt
DHM 58705

Berlioz: Requiem & Kyrie fr. Grande Messe des Morts
London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Davis
Phil 157302

Verdi: Requiem & Kyrie fr. Requiem Mass
London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Bernstein; Arroyo, s.; Veasey, ms.; Raimondi, bs.; Domingo, ten.
Sony 47639
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Dvorák: Kyrie fr. Requiem Mass, Op. 89
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus/Ancerl
Sup 3673

Mozart: Tuba Mirum fr. Requiem
Concentus Musicus Wien/Harnoncourt; Finley, bar.; Schäfer, s.; Fink, alto; Streit, ten.
DHM 58705

Program 2

We return to the requiem masses of Berlioz and Verdi. We hear their Dies Irae, or "Day of Wrath" passages. Bill shows how these composers handle the same material with their own unique touch.

Berlioz: Dies Irae fr. Grande Messe des Morts
London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Davis
Phil 157302

Verdi: Dies Irae & excerpts fr. Requiem Mass
Berlin Phil/Abaddo; Gheorghiu, s.; Barcellona, ms.; Konstantinov, bs.; Alagna, ten.
EMI 57168
36:18, 3:15

Program 3

We hear the remainder of the "Sequentia" section of Mozart's requieum, containing the Confutatis and the Lachrymosa, the last music Mozart wrote before his death. Next is Berlioz's massive Sequentia, a stark contrast to Mozart's setting. Bill ends with the more intimate setting by Gabriel Fauré.

Mozart: Rex Trememde, Ricordare, Confutatis & Lachrymosa fr. Requiem, K. 626
Concentus Musicus Wien/Harnoncourt
DHM 58705
13:54, :50

Berlioz: Quid sum miser, Rex tremendae, Quaerens me & Lachrymosa fr. Grande Messe des Morts
London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Davis
Phil 157302

Fauré: Sanctus, Pie Jesu, & Agnus Dei fr. Requiem, Op. 48
La Chapelle Royale Paris/Herreweghe
HM 901292
7:47, 3:57

Program 4

Bill opens with the remainder of Mozart's setting of the requiem, written by his pupil Franz Xavier Süssmayr. We then return to Berlioz's Sanctus, and finally the thrilling and profound conclusion to Verdi's version of the same text. We end with the setting by French composer Maurice Duruflé.

Mozart: Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei & Lux Aeterna fr. Requiem, K. 626
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Shaw
Telarc 80128

Berlioz: Sanctus fr. Grande Messe des Morts
BSO/Munch; Simoneau, ten.
RCA 6210

Verdi: Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Lux Aeterna & Libera Me fr. Requiem Mass
Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus/Giulini; Ludwig, ms.; Schwarzkopf, s.; Gedda, ten.; Ghiaurov, bs.
EMI 67563

Duruflé: Sanctus fr. Requiem, Op. 9
Orchestra and Chorus of the Academy of Saint Cecilia/Chung; Terfel, bar.; Bartoli, ms.
DG 459365

Program 5

Bill tackles the German Requiem of Johannes Brahms, which deviates from the traditional liturgical Latin text. In each movement, Brahms captures a huge emotional span by taking sorrowful, dark music and lifting it up into a bright and hopeful mood. 

Brahms: German Requiem, Op. 45: I-IV, VI
Philharmonia Orchestra/Klemperer; Fischer-Dieskau, bar.
EMI 66955
9:53, 14:26, 9:48, 17:22


The Exploring Music streaming website is supported by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and the Richard P. and Susan Kiphart Family.  
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