Going back to the very Romantic (and Classical, in terms of standards) period, we should not neglect the already underrated but wonderful, minor to some extent, Requiem (1852) and Requiem for Mignon (1849) by Schumann.
Cherubinin's Requiem in d minor and, particularly, the magnificent in c minor are "must" for every collector and choral music lover. The versions with Muti are legendary by now. His recent 7 CD box, on EMI, with the major choral works of Cherubini is a quite comprehensive and marvelous survey on this great Italian Master.
Bottini's Requiem, on the other hand, is another Italian discovery and delight. I'm afraid it has to be ordered directly from Italy or from Amzon.it.
So I gave the Liszt Requiem a chance last night. I was reminded of why Liszt (unfairly in my opinion) has gained a reputation as a second rate composer, a few pieces aside. There are some interesting sections to the Requiem but it is a very uneven piece. This feeling may well have been enhanced by the quality of the performance, which seems neither devotional or inspired. I suspect a better choir and soloists would be able to do much more with the setting, which is stark (though not featureless). Another thought I had was perhaps a large choir is required, buton reflection I think that was my way of suggesting that more dynamism is necessary.
The Hanson symphony comes tonight.
Is the Liszt the Requiem in D Minor listed on the Requiemsurvey.org site as for men's voices and organ? I'm interested when you say it is stark, and in these varieties in the settings. No orchestra?
Stark sounds like it might be worth a listen...
Hi Nauplilus, Mark!
Yes, I was attracted by the 'stark' description. There is a Hungaroton recording with the Hungarian Army Male Voice Choir under Janos Ferencsik. I'm tempted to try it. Which recording do you have Naupilus?
Via crucis (not a requiem of course) is another austere work of Liszt's that works remarkably well.
Hi Chris & Mark,
The version I have is the Hungaroton. The score calls for 4 male soloists, choir, brass (trombones), percussion and organ. Via crucis is a different beast entirely, which is probably why it gets more airings. During Liszt's life the 'Gran' Mass was (I think) the most played of his choral works. The score for the Requiem is available online if you ae interested, and their are samples on YouTube.
Thanks Naupilus. Interesting! The only other recording I can see has the French Army Choir. I wonder does the French Army have a bigger choir than the Hungarians?
Chris, I have both versions of Liszt's Requiem. The "French" sound too outdated. The Hungarian forces are much more to the point. However, the work does very little justice to the composer's immense powers and possibilities. Liszt looks like trying to seek the echo of a primitive christianism, an archaic way to approach eternity after death.
Cherubini's c minor Requiem is a masterpiece par excellence, worthy of further listening and research, instead.
For an "early" Faure, try Campra's Messe des morts of 1723! You'll be surprised by this "lullaby of death". A minor and almost serene masterpiece, but a masterpiece. It still exists, I believe, in a recording of Erato (Warner) with Gardiner.
Parla, thanks for that. Like Mark, I was attracted by Naupilus' description as 'stark'. Visions of the wonderful late piano works! It does seem perhaps that it is rather less interesting, although your description of Liszt "trying to seek the echo of a primitive christianism, an archaic way to approach eternity after death" does have a fascinating ring to it!
I must listen again to the Cherubini. The Campra I don't know. Noted.
[PS: Naupilus mentioned that you can hear it on YouTube and can also see the score there. I had not realised that you can hear the Ferencsik performance at the same time as viewing the score. Interesting, but in the end I think I have to agree with Naupilus and Parla.]
Hi folks! Sorry for delay.
The Ropartz - an interesting work, very. I'm not sure I would call it austere exactly. Pared back yes. It is very expressive and emotive - losts of lovely cadences which seem to just come to a standstill and which are followed by pauses, and overall, a heartfelt work.
My only real quibble is that each movement seems to have the same feeling/mood, so overall the work seems to lack a bit of variety in texture.
Naupilus/Chris - thanks for the info and link on the Liszt - I have had a look and will have a listen I'm sure quite soon!
From the latest installments in the Requiem recordings, it should be noted with enough distinction the recent recording of Harmonia Mundi on Johann Christian Bach's Missa da Requiem (along with his Miserere), in a very fine performance by the Akademie fuer Alte Musik Berlin under H-C Rademann. Luminous music with colours of the "funereal", mostly in the four choral segments.
In the same vein, but not in the form of a Requiem, it is the recent CD of Soli Deo Gloria, with Gardiner's account of the sort of funeral music of another son of the great Bach, namely Johann Christoph Bach. The CD, containing arias, motets and lamentos, is aptly named "Welt, gute Nacht" (World, good night). Wonderful music, brilliantly performed and quite a discovery.
Just a few more thoughts on the Ropartz, having had another listen to it yesterday, as I'm not sure I did it justice:
It is a very emotive and expressive work as I say. The underlying mood seems to be one of beseeching and supplication. Strangely the feeling throughout isn't exactly what I would call sacred, it feels very much a physical response to the Latin text. I think there is a great yearning for peace in it alright, and a great pleading with God for that peace. The very short Pie Jesu is striking (under 3 minutes - section 5). Moments sound like Debussy in the orchestral writing with the sacred words sung over the top. I still think the mood in each movement is similar, but in a positive way that means there is a unity of mood throughout. Some highly beautiful moments - the Kyrie second movement having a few.
PS Parla - the Hyperion newsletter which landed in my inbox this weekend mentions the Richafort and that certainly looks like it is going to be worth investigating.
Parla, here's an interesting snippet from the CD booklet on the Ropartz:
'We can do anything we like. All associations of notes, all superposition are legitimate if they are necessary for expression. A musician with a thorough knowledge of his art should have no other laws than his own free will, his sincerity and his passion. One will move us by his dissonances and discordances, another by his ideas, yet another by his colour. Perhaps another one will come along and produce amazing effects with a few triads'.
Hear that Parla - A musician with a thorough knowledge of his art should have no other laws than his own free will? How absolutely shocking Parla! I think you should e-mail him and tell him he is wrong and that he wouldn't have got into the Parla conservatoire and that no wise old prof will bother with him ever again. I suggest his music be banned from future recordings!
Mark (I jest of course Parla before I get a 5000 word essay on the importance of the rules).
Mark, the key words of the "interesting snippet" are "thorough knowledge" along with "sincerity and passion". A musician, who has a thorough knowledge of his Art, knows how to use his "free will" with sincerity and passion. He won't betray his Art.
Anyway, if the writer of the booklet wrote this "snippet" to justify the music of Ropartz, then, you should understand...
Anyway, the jest is well received.
The Brahms, Faure and Mozart are certainly my favourite Requiems but this year I was fortunate to sing the Rutter Requiem written in mid 1980's. Recently being reacquainting myself with the Verdi.
Hi DST! Just leaving you a message on this board and thought this thread might be the best place.
As I know you are a fan of 20th C German culture, or at least I presume you are after our exchanges, just a note that Zimmerman's Nobody knows de trouble I see is on tomorrow night's prom (Wed. 1st August) if you don't already know that is...
Is it one of his death-infested works?! Just checked it as 1954 so middle period?