Frequent guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, Manfred Honeck, has prepared a combination of Mozart’s Requiem and music of the twentieth century with moving texts narrated by Marian Roden.
Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten
Litany for the Feast of All Souls, D 343
Musique funèbre, for string orchestra
A Requiem – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Death in Music and Text
Three Bell Strokes
Gregorian Chant: Requiem aeternam
Reading*: Letter of Mozart to his father, 4 April 1787
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Maurerische Trauermusik C Minor K 477 (479a)
Gregorian Chant: Domine exaudi orationem meam
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
from Vesperae solennes de Confessore K 339/5
Gregorian Chant: In quacumque die
Reading: Nelly Sachs (1891-1970)
„Wer weiß, wo die Sterne stehen“
„Wenn im Vorsommer“
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Requiem K 626
I. Introitus – Requiem
Reading: Book of Revelations 6, 8-17
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Requiem K 626
Gregorian Chant: Christus factus est
Reading: Book of Revelations 21, 1-7
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Requiem K 626
Lacrimosa (Fragment, first 8 bars)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ave verum corpus K 618
Three Bell Strokes
*the texts are supposed to be recited in the national language
Marie Henriette Reinhold
Prague Philharmonic Choir
Schola Gregoriana Pragensis
SCHOLA GREGORIANA PRAGENSIS
Hasan El-Dunia, Jan Kukal, Stanislav Předota, Ondřej Múčka, Ondřej Holub, Ondřej Maňour, Michal Medek, Tomáš Lajtkep and
David Eben – artistic director
The Schola Gregoriana Pragensis was established by David Eben in the year 1987. During first two years of its existence the ensemble was allowed to sing only in the liturgy. This limitation ceased after 1989 and since then it has been intensively recording and giving concerts abroad, too (Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Israel, Japan). The CDs of the ensemble arise exclusively in co-operation with the major Czech musical publisher, Supraphon company, and have received a number of awards (Choc du Monde de le Musique, 10 de Répertoire, Golden Harmony Award for the best Czech recording of the year). The ensemble records for the Czech Radio, too. In this case the list of its issues amounts respectable 319 compositions. The Schola has co-operated in various projects with a whole range of top-notch Czech as well as foreign interprets (Petr Eben, Jiří Bárta, Jaroslav Tůma, Iva Bittová, Choeur gregorien de Paris, Boni pueri, Musica Florea, the ensemble of Japanese Buddhist monks Ohara Gjosan shomjo kenkju-kai, Varmuža’s Dulcimer Music Band, Jeaner Philharmonie, etc.).
The ensemble belongs to foremost world interpreters of medieval sacral music. It has been focusing its work both on the semiological interpretation of Gregoriant chant according to the earliest neumatic sources from the 10th to 11th century, and on presentation of the original Bohemian plainchant tradition, including early polyphony. Thanks to ensemble’s intensive study of medieval sources, its programmes also include a number of unique, newly discovered compositions dating from the 13th to 15th centuries. The large gamut of repertoire offers also contemporary music (see eg. the CD Antica e moderna) – some compositions of young Czech composer generation have been written rightly for the Schola and were premiered in its interpretation.
Regarding the records and concert projects, the audience as well as expert reviews appreciate chiefly their dramaturgical imaginativeness and musical interpretation, with which the ensemble brings alive the repertoire originating from the very roots of European musical culture.
The Prague Philharmonic Choir (PPC) is a leading European vocal ensemble, and as one of the Czech Republic´s foremost artistic institutions operates under the trusteeship of the Czech Ministry of Culture. In the course of the choir´s long history since its foundation in 1935, it has been directed by a succession of some of the most distinguished Czech choirmasters (including among others Jan Kühn, Josef Veselka and Pavel Kühn). Since 2007 its principal choirmaster has been Lukáš Vasilek.
The PPC´s repertoire is centered primarily around oratorio and cantata works. In their presentation, the choir has worked with eminent international orchestras (e.g. the Czech Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Israel Philharmonic, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden or Wiener Symphoniker, among others), and conductors (including Daniel Barenboim, Jiří Bělohlávek, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Manfred Honeck, Jakub Hrůša, Tomáš Netopil, Gianandrea Noseda, Philippe Jordan, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta or Sir Simon Rattle). Beyond its standard choral repertoire, the PPC is likewise active in the domain of opera, working regularly with the National Theatre in Prague, and since 2010 holding the status of choir in residence at the opera festival of Bregenz, Austria.
Apart from these commitments, the PPC engages in a number of its own projects. Since 2011 it has organized its own choral concert series in Prague, with a programme focused notably on presentations of less well known choral works, either a cappella or with chamber-scale instrumental accompaniment. The PPC has taken some of these choral projects abroad (including among other occasions its tours in the USA and Mexico in 2014, and in Russia in 2018). The choir regards as an inseparable part of its activity educational endeavours targeting the young generations. In this context, it has been involved in organizing a Choral Academy for students of singing, a project aimed at enabling young artists to acquire practical skills through work with a professional vocal ensemble; and with focus on young children, running a series of educational concerts and a programme of on-the-spot singing workshops in schools.
The PPC has to its credit an extensive discography, with many titles released by major international labels (e.g., Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical and Supraphon). In recent years the choir has taken part in several unique recording projects, two of them in association with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. The first of these, a recording of Antonín Dvořák´s Stabat Mater (Decca, 2017), with Jiří Bělohlávek conducting, received the prestigious Diapason d´or de l´année award for the year´s best album in the sacred music category. The second, a recording of Bohuslav Martinů´s The Epic of Gilgamesh (Supraphon, 2017), under the baton of Manfred Honeck, won several awards in the United Kingdom, plus another Diapason d´or. The album featuring Bohuslav Martinů´s Kytice (Supraphon, 2017), on which the PPC collaborated with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tomáš Netopil, was cited as recording of the month by the prestigious British web magazine MusicWeb International. Its recording of Bohuslav Martinů´s chamber cantatas (Supraphon, 2016) scored top rankings in the influential British magazines, Gramophone (Editor´s Choice) and BBC Music Magazine (Choral & Song Choice), in the latter along with nomination for its annual award in the choral music category.
The PPC´s many commitments in the 2018/2019 season include among others concert appearances at the Dvořák Prague, Beethovenfest Bonn and Prague Spring festivals, a tour in Belgium, a performance in New York´s Carnegie Hall (Mahler´s Symphony No. 2, with the Czech Philharmonic and its principal conductor, Semyon Bychkov; this will be followed up by the recording of the same symphony for Decca Classics), and further work with the Israel Philharmonic, this time under the baton of Manfred Honeck. The PPC´s 2018/2019 concert season will be rounded off by a concert at the Smetana Litomyšl Festival, where it will perform with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev Mussorgsky´s opera Boris Godunov; and finally, appearances, for the tenth time already, at the opera festival of Bregenz, Austria.
Patrick Grahl was born in Leipzig and was initially a member of the St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig under Georg Christoph Biller; he then went on to complete his singing training at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Academy of Music in Leipzig with Professor Berthold Schmid, graduating with distinction in the master-class examination. Patrick Grahl attended master-classes held by Peter Schreier, Gotthold Schwarz, Gerd Türk, Ileana Cotrubaş and Prof. Karl-Peter Kammerlander which gave him decisive momentum for his artistic development. While still a student Patrick Grahl was able to work on and perform roles such as Alfred (in Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauß), Tamino (in Mozart’s Die Zauber Flöte) and Albert (in Albert Herring by Britten). He was also to be heard as the Young Servant in Elektra by Richard Strauss, and as Shepherd / Voice of a Young Sailor in Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Opéra National de Lyon. During the current season Patrick Grahl gives guest appearances as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Teatro La Fenice di Venezia.
In 2016 the tenor won 1st prize at the XX International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig. He is already much in demand as an oratorio and concert singer and has been invited to perform as soloist with orchestras such as the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, the Dresden Philharmonic, the NDR Radio Philharmonic, the Gürzenichorchester Cologne as well as the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the London Symphony Orchestra; he has worked with conductors such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Daniele Gatti, Hartmut Haenchen, Ludwig Güttler, Peter Schreier, Andrew Manze and Leopold Hager. Patrick Grahl still has close ties with the St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig and with the Dresdner Kreuzchor.
Patrick Grahl’s concerts in the 2018/2019 season include Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang in the Maulbronn monastery, Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Münchener Bachchor in Moscow, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Leipzig with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and the St. Thomas Choir, Mozart’s Requiem with Bachakademie Stuttgart conducted by Hans-Christoph Rademann, Mozart’s Mass in C minor in Turin under the direction of Omer Meier Wellber, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Dresden with Dresdner Kreuzchor, Leopold Mozart’s Missa solemnis at the Mozart Festival in Augsburg with the conductor Alessandro de Marchi and Haydn’s Creation in Bonn under the baton of Paul Krämer. The highlights of the season are Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Basel Chamber Orchestra conducted by Christopher Moulds, a tour with the Collegium Vocale Gent, and Mozart’s Requiem with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Manfred Honeck
Besides his many commitments on the concert and opera stage Patrick Grahl also has a dedicated interest in chamber music projects and recitals, for instance with his male voice quartet Thios Omilos or the ensemble Barockwerk Ost, with which in 2014 he won 1st prize of the Advancement prize for Early Music awarded by Saarland Radio and the Academy of Ancient Music in the Saarland. Until 2013 Patrick Grahl was also awarded a scholarship by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Bonn.
Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, Manfred Honeck has served as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008/2009 season. Consistently recognized for their performances, he and the orchestra are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad and regularly perform in major European music capitals as well as at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and leading festivals such as BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn and Grafenegg Festival. Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have also built a close relationship with the Musikverein in Vienna. The next tour of European cities will take place in autumn 2019.
Manfred Honeck’s successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been extensively documented on recordings with the Reference and Exton labels. All SACDs released by Reference Recordings, amongst them Strauss tone poems and suites, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Beethoven Symphonies No. 5 and 7, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 have received a multitude of rave reviews and honours. Following two earlier Grammy nominations, the most recent recording, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, won the Grammy for “Best Orchestral Performance” in January 2018.
Born in Austria, Manfred Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the viola section in the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado and as artistic leader of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Other early posts include Leipzig, where he was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra and Oslo, where he assumed the post of Music Director at the Norwegian National Opera on short notice for a year and was engaged as Principal Guest Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra for several years. From 2000 to 2006 he was Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and, from 2008 to 2011 and again from 2013 to 2016, Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
From 2007 to 2011, Manfred Honeck was Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart where he conducted premieres including Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Verdi’s Aida, Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélitesand Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal, as well as numerous symphonic concerts.
His operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival. Moreover, he has been Artistic Director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than twenty years.
As a guest conductor Manfred Honeck has worked with the world’s leading orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome and the Vienna Philharmonic. Orchestras he conducted in the United States include New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. He is also a regular guest at the Verbier Festival.
Manfred Honeck has received honorary doctorates from several North American universities. Most recently, he was awarded the honorary title of Professor by the Austrian Federal President. The expert jury of the International Classical Music Awards selected him as “Artist of the Year” 2018.
Marian Roden comes from an old family of actors. He was born in České Budějovice in 1964 and after studying at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory in Prague he committed himself to theater acting (for example, with his older brother Karel Roden in the Komedie Theater). However, he is better known from the TV screen – especially from Czech TV series (Život na zámku [Life at the Chateau], Četnické humoresky [Policeman’s Humoresques], Šípková Růženka [Sleeping Beauty], Strážce duší [The Guardian of Souls], Letiště [The Airport], Přešlapy [Foot Faults], České století [Czech Century], Neviditelní [The Invisible], Reportérka [Female Reporter], Vraždy v kruhu [The Zodiac Murders],Vinaři [Wine Producers]) as well as the movie screen (Kytice [A Bouquet], Sklapni a zastřel mě [Shut Up and Shoot Me], Oběti a vrazi [Victims and Murderers], Bobule [Grapes], Bathory, Vlna [Wave], Stínu neutečeš [No Escape from the Shadow]). Thanks to his hobbies he has a gift for the portrayal of historical figures – he is a horse lover and regularly participates in various breeding exhibitions with his stallion; he devoted himself to sporting dogs breeding, especially briars. Now he focuses on hunting dogs breeding and hunting, and regularly hunts with his dogs.
MARIE HENRIETTE REINHOLD
Marie Henriette Reinhold was born in Leipzig into a musical family where she has developed a passion for music since early childhood. After graduating from Pforta High School in Naumburg, she studied musicology and cultural management at the Franz Liszt Conservatory in Weimar and the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. In 2008 she began to take singing lessons from Prof. Kammersänger Roland Schubert; since October 2011 she has been studying classical singing with Prof. Elvira Dreßen at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University of Music and Theater in Leipzig, currently as a master class student. She also attended master classes led by Jonathan Alder, Alexander Schmalcz and Peter Schreier, which gave her decisive impulses in song interpretation.
As a soloist, Marie Henriette Reinhold has appeared in concert halls and major churches in Germany and other European countries with orchestras such as the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées and the Collegium Vocale Gent conducted by Philip Herreweghe, the Münchener Bachchor, Concerto Köln, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under the direction of Gotthold Schwarz and Herbert Blomstedt, the Baroque orchestra “Il Giardino Armonico”, the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, the Gaechinger Cantorey under Hans-Christopher Rademann and the Stuttgart Chamber Choir under Frieder Bernius.
Marie Henriette Reinhold is the first junior prizewinner of the national competition Gesang Berlin in 2012 and a prizewinner of the Singing Competition of the Rheinsberg Castle Chamber Opera (Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg) in 2014.
Young czech Bass Jan Martiník was born in 1983 in Ostrava where he studied on Janáček Conservatory and on the University of Ostrava with Eliška Pappová. 2003 he won the International Singing Competition Antonín Dvořák in Karlovy Vary in the category Junior and was also rewarded with the second prize in the category "Lied". Jan Martiník is laureate of the International Competition Jelena Obraztsova, where he won the special prize for the best Tchajkovsky romance. 2007 he was finalist in Placido Domingo´s Competition "Operalia" and in 2009 in Cardiff Singer of the World, where he won the category "Song".
While studying at the university he appeared in roles at the NDM Ostrava, including Pistola (Falstaff), Leporello (Don Giovanni) and Truffaldino (Ariadne auf Naxos). At the National Theatre Prague he sung roles including Masetto (Don Giovanni), Larkens and José Castro (La fanciulla del West), Leporello (Don Giovanni) in the new production in Estates theatre.
From 2008 to 2011 Jan Martiník was a member of Komische Oper Berlin, where he sung roles including Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Colline (La bohème), Surin (Pique Dame) and Nachtwächter (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg). In Volksoper Vienna he sung Betto (Gianni Schicchi), 1.Nazarener (Salome) as well as Zuniga in Carmen. Since 2012/13 Jan Martiník is a member of Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin, where he performes roles including Colline (La Bohéme), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Eremit (Der Freischütz), as well as Father Trulove (The Rake´s Progress).
In concerts the young Bass was working with well known orchestras such as Czech Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Brimingham Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, as well as the King´s Consort and the Collegium 1704. Amongst other pieces of the concert repertoire he has performed Jesus in St. Matthews Passion, as well as the Aria Part, the Bass Parts in Mozart, Dvořák and Verdiʼs Requiem, Dvořák Te Deum, Beethovens 9. Symphony and Haydns Schöpfung. Jan Martiník is already known for his sincere interpretations of Schubertʼs Winterreise and Dvořák Biblical Songs.
The beauty of his voice matches with a splendid technique and a comical talent, which makes him one of the leading singers of the young generation.
David Eben is a founder and an art director of the Schola Gregoriana Pragensis ensemble. After graduation from the clarinet studies at Prague’s conservatory in 1986, he took up musicology at Faculty of Arts of Charles University. Since the second form he specialized in medieval music, mainly in Gregorian chant. In 1991 he graduated from Paris conservatory (Conservatoire Nationale Superieur de Musique de Paris), the program Conducting Gregorian Chant, and in the following year he worked as a conductor of the Choeur gregorien de Paris ensemble. Then he also often visited the Solesmes monastery, a centre of research into Gregorian chant, with the view of studying and consulting.
Since 1993 he works at the Institute of Musicology of Charles University where he lectures on topics related to Gregorian chant and liturgy (neumatic and choral notation, introduction to Gregorian chant studies, seminar on medieval monody etc.). In September 2008 he became profesor of Gregorian Chant at the University of Lucerne (Switzerland). He regularly tutors in summer courses on theory and practice of Gregorian chant in France (Academie internationale de Sées, Centre de musique polyphonique de Picardie Saint-Valéry) and in Switzerland (Festival de Musique Sacré de Fribourg). On a long term basis he has been co-operating with the Czech Radio in creating programs on Gregorian chant (History of the Tone, a cycle Liturgical Year through Gregorian Chant).
Besides medieval sacred music he also deals with other music genres. Together with his two brothers he is active in the Eben Brothers Band.
Lukáš Vasilek, principal conductor of the Prague Philharmonic Choir (PPC), studied conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and musicology at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague. For eleven seasons from 1998 he was conductor of the Foerster Female Chamber Choir, and between 2005 and 2007 was also second choirmaster of the Prague National Theatre´s opera chorus.
He took up his post at the helm of the PPC in 2007. Apart from preparing and conducting the choir´s a cappella concert productions, he has been building up the PPC´s repertoire set for participation in large-scale cantata, oratorio and opera projects, working with leading international conductors (Barenboim, Bělohlávek, Eschenbach, Honeck, Hrůša, Jordan, Luisi, Mehta, Noseda or Rattle, among others) and orchestras (including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Czech Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden or Wiener Symphoniker). Since 2010 the PPC under Vasilek´s direction has guest appeared regularly at the opera festival in Bregenz, Austria.
Lukáš Vasilek is signed under numerous recordings made by the PPC for various major labels, including Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical and Supraphon. In 2016 the last mentioned of these issued an album of Bohuslav Martinů´s cantatas which was nominated for the BBC Music Magazine´s annual award in the choral category, among other plaudits.
In 2010 Lukáš Vasilek formed the Martinů Voices vocal ensemble whose repertoire he has focused primarily on 20th- and 21st-century choral music. He is likewise occasionally active as an orchestra conductor.
Coloratura soprano Nicola Proksch has been awarded several times internationally. Among others she received the prize of the public in the Nico Dostal International operetta Competition (Austria), in 2010 she won the International Singing Competition Antonín Dvořák, in Czech Republic. For her debut as Amina in La Sonnambula of Donizetti she was awarded the prize as „Discovery of the season“ by the critics in Slovakia.
2008/09 she was a member of the opera studio of Komische Oper, Berlin. In tours with opera companies through Japan she sang 2008 Gilda in Rigoletto of Verdi and 2011 Micaela in Carmen of Bizet.
In R. Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos she gave her debut as Najade in Volksoper Vienna, Oper Zürich, Stateopera Hamburg and Opera Leipzig. As Queen of the Night she sang in Theater Bremen, Volksoper Vienna and Statetheater Schwerin. In 2012 she had her debut as Ann Trulove in The Rake´s Progress at NDM Ostrava. Critically acclaimed she debuted as Amina in La Sonnambula in 2013 in Statetheater Kosice. In 2014 she guested with Opera Leipzig at the known Bejing Music Festival with the opera Ariadne auf Naxos. In the season 2016/17 she debuted as Queen of the Night in Stateopera Unter den Linden Berlin, a role which she will also perform there next season. In 2017/18 she also returns to Statetheater Kosice in all four female roles of Les Contes dʼHoffmann.
With various orchestras in Europe, she has performed Haydns Schöpfung, Mozarts C Minor Mass, Mendelssohn Elias, Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem, Orff Carmina Burana. In Opera Gala Concerts and Live broadcastings with different orchestras Nicola Proksch has performed the big coloratura arias of Lakmé, Lucia, Traviata as well as the famous Strauss waltz Voices of spring.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Mozart was born into a musical family – his father Leopold educated him in the fundamentals of music. From an early age, he and his sister travelled around Europe on a number of concert tours. A talented child, Mozart played violin and harpsichord superbly, and he began writing his first compositions. At this time, he wrote mainly symphonies and sonatas, which appeared in print immediately. At the end of the 1760s, those compositions were joined by his first stage works. During the 1770s, he wrote more than a hundred serenades, divertimentos, string quartets, and violin concertos. In spite of some success with his operas, he did not have any permanent employment, and he worked as a free-lance concert artist and teacher. The climax of Mozart’s career as a composer is documented by his symphonies (Haffner, Linz, Prague, Jupiter) and his greatest operas (Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute etc.).
The last of Mozart’s more than six hundred works is the famed Requiem in D Minor, KV 626. Honeck’s dramaturgical concept of death in music and in the scriptures begins with the tolling of a bell three times and the Gregorian chant Requiem aeternam (Eternal rest). Mozart composed the orchestral work that follows, the Maurerische Trauermusik (Masonic Funeral Music) in C Minor, KV 477 (479a), in 1785 on the occasion of the deaths of two members of his Masonic lodge, Duke Georg August of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Count Franz Esterházy von Galántha. The plainchant Domine exaudi orationem meam (Lord, hear my prayer)is followed by the comforting Laudate Dominum from the Vesperae solennes de Confessore, KV 339/5, one of Mozart’s most heartfelt compositions. Mozart only managed to write eight bars of the section Lacrymosa, and he died soon thereafter. The hope that has persevered in Mozart’s music over the centuries is recalled by his setting of the prayer Ave verum coprus, KV 618.
Schubert began composing songs, ariettas, and string quartets at an early age, and later he also composed symphonies, chamber music, and vocal works. Several hundred of his songs have been preserved. Schubert usually chose texts by the German poets J. W. Goethe, F. Schiller, H. Heine, or F. G. Klopstock. Few composers in music history have matched Schubert’s gifts for melody and for communicating words and poetic ideas through music.
Litanei auf das Fest aller Seelen (Litany for the Feast of All Souls), D. 343, a song for voice and piano to a text by the German poet Johann Georg Jacobi, was composed in August 1816. The moving prayer is made all the more calm by the regularity of the sixteenth-note accompaniment. This performance presents the work in an orchestral arrangement by M. Reger.
This extraordinarily gifted Warsaw native was born to a well-to-do family, and he exhibited musical talent at an early age. Besides music, he also had a great interest in mathematics, which he studied at university after his completion of secondary school. He earned diplomas from the conservatoire in piano and composition. During the Second World War, he performed in cafés and made arrangements of musical compositions of the worldwide repertoire for the purpose. After the war, he worked in radio.
Lutosławski composed his Muzyka żałobna (Musique funèbre) for string orchestra between 1954 and 1958, and it is one of his most frequently performed works. The person behind the composition’s creation was the conductor Jan Krenz, who asked Lutosławski to compose a work for the tenth anniversary of Béla Bartók’s death. The work is based on a twelve-tone row consisting only two intervals: tritones and minor seconds. By the exclusion of traditional harmonies built on thirds, Lutosławski achieved new tonal combinations without becoming dependent on Schoenberg’s dodecaphony.
Arvo Pärt, one of the most famous living classical composers, graduated from the Tallinn Conservatoire in 1963, then he worked in Estonian radio and television broadcasting. His early works were influenced by the music of D. Shostakovich and S. Prokofiev, and later he took inspiration mainly from music for the stage and film, serialism, collage techniques, and minimalism.
Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten for string orchestra and bells (1977) is Pärt’s tribute to the British composer and also one of the works that made Pärt world famous. The composition is an early example of the tintinnabuli style, and it is also often used in documentary films because of its structure.
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