Ukraine, Britten, Renaissance 2022
This Week in Classical Music: December 26, 2022. Finish of Yr. This 12 months shall be remembered for the brutal, unprovoked conflict Russia unleashed in opposition to Ukraine in February. Peace in Europe has failed, but once more, however this time to an extent not seen since WWII. And but once more we see that tradition doesn’t assist us to battle evil: the nation of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky is killing folks very very similar to the nation of Beethoven and Goethe was doing it eighty-some years in the past. Neither phrases nor music, solely lethal weapons can cease the aggressor. If we had been to play some music to acknowledge the barbarity of the occasions, that might be Britten’s Battle Requiem. Written in 1961-62, the music was commissioned to mark the consecration of the Coventry Cathedral, just lately rebuilt after being destroyed by German bombs throughout WWII. For the textual content of the Requiem, Britten used elements of the Latin mass and 9 poems of Wilfred Owen, the English poet who died throughout the Nice Battle only one week earlier than the armistice (regardless of all the trendy rocketry, what’s taking place in Ukraine right now reminds one of many hellish trench battles of WWI).
On the premiere of the Requiem Britten needed to point out the newfound European unity, inviting his mates from completely different international locations to carry out: the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya from the Soviet Union, Peter Pears, an Englishman, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, a German. However there was no “unity” between the East and the West in 1962: the Soviet Authorities didn’t enable Vishnevskaya to journey to the UK and Heather Harper needed to substitute on very quick discover. A number of months later the Soviets relented and let Vishnevskaya go to London to document the piece. It’s from this recording that we are able to hear the primary motion, Requiem aeternam. Benjamin Britten conducts the London Symphony Orchestra.
It turned a convention of kinds for us to rejoice the approaching New Yr by commemorating the quite a few composers of the Renaissance whose delivery dates had been misplaced in historical past. We recurrently write in regards to the “greats,” resembling Guillaume Dufay, Josquin des Prez, Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso, and Tomás Luis de Victoria, however there are scores of gifted composers born within the 16th and even 17th centuries that we frequently miss for the one cause that their birthdays should not mounted within the musical calendar. So right here is a madrigal Queste Non Son Più Lagrime Che Fuore (These are not actual tears which rise) by Giaches de Wert. It’s primarily based on a canto from Orlando furioso, a poem by the good Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto and carried out by the ensemble La Compagnia del Madrigale. Giaches de Wert was born in 1535 and spent a few years on the courts of the Gonzaga and Este households in Mantua and Ferrara, then the musical facilities of Italy. Luca Marenzio was 18 years youthful than de Wert; he was additionally well-known for his madrigals and likewise for a few years served completely different branches of Estes and Gonzagas, although largely in Rome and Florence. Right here’s Amor, i’ ò molti et molt’anni pianto (Love I’ve cried many and a few years), Marenzio’s madrigal for 5 voices. It’s set to a textual content by Petrarch and is carried out by the ensemble La Venexiana.
Joyful New Yr!
Leave a Reply