Friday, November 16, 2012

Dvorak's Requiem

The Requiem is written in B Flat Minor. It is a funeral mass which was written in 1890 as it was commissioned for the Birmingham Festival in England. The Requiem has Introitus-Graduale-Dies Irae-Offertorium-Sanctus-Agnus Dei as its sections. Dvorak conducted its premiere in October 1891 in Birmingham. In addition to the solo singers, chorus and the standard Romantic orchestra ensemble strength, the additional instruments were the organ, harp, tam tam (Chau Gong) and Campane (bells). The opening of the Introitus is in a mysterious mood and the opening of the Dies Irae is thunderously rattling. There have been critics who have reviewed this work and called it dull and uninspiring. Obviously, their mind has wandered elsewhere and never followed the threads of this music. The Requiem is expressive and full of passion. It is a choral gem. It also became one of the most popular choral works of Dvorak and that too in his lifetime. He saw it performed many times in the remaining thirteen years of his life. This is the first reading of Mariss Jansons that has impressed me. The ensemble is Bayerischen Rundfunks. Sounds even better than the Karel Ancerl and the Slovak Philharmonic.

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