Contributed by: Soloists, choir
Conductor: Péter Dobszay
Our performance will be missed!
Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901), who became known primarily as an opera composer, does not deny his exceptional dramatic sense and operatic style in his Requiem, the Requiem. To compose the text, the composer was driven by the combination of several tragic events. Rossini, whom he held in high esteem, died in 1868, and in 1873 he was stirred up by the death of writer Alessandro Manzoni, one of the leading figures of the Risorgimento — Verdi felt that a great era of Italian art was inevitably over. All of these experiences are reflected in his mourning mass, the first performance of which took place on May 22, 1874, in Milan. Requiem was intended by Verdi for a concert performance from the beginning. This is already evident from the unusually large number of apparatus, which makes the work not acoustically suitable for church use. Beyond the orchestration, the same aspiration is manifested in the freedom to construct the piece, in the design of which the author’s hands were not noticeably tied to the keeping of liturgical functions. Such an unusual turn, used solely for the sake of musical expression, is, for example, the repetition of a section beginning with the text “Dies irae” on the chorus after the mezzo-soprano solo “liber scriptus”. As the closing of Confutatis, the musical material of “Dies irae” also appears, and even Verdi recalls this melody in the middle section of the Libera me movement, which concludes the entire composition. Usually, therefore, he does not follow the strictly bound mass text, but paints a subjective experience of tragedy under the pretext of the liturgical text. The interoperability of Mass and opera is illustrated by the beginning of the Lacrimosa movement, in which Verdi used the musical material of a duet previously outlined for Don Carlos but omitted from the final version.