Freitag, 3. Dezember 2021

Hans Werner Henze - Requiem (1994)


Hans Werner Henze (1 July 1926 – 27 October 2012) was a German composer. His large oeuvre of works is extremely varied in style, having been influenced by serialism, atonality, Stravinsky, Italian music, Arabic music and jazz, as well as traditional schools of German composition. In particular, his stage works reflect "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life".

Henze was also known for his political convictions. He left Germany for Italy in 1953 because of a perceived intolerance towards his leftist politics and homosexuality. Late in life he lived in the village of Marino in the central Italian region of Lazio, and in his final years still travelled extensively, in particular to Britain and Germany, as part of his work. An avowed Marxist and member of the Italian Communist Party, Henze produced compositions honoring Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara. At the 1968 Hamburg premiere of his requiem for Che Guevara, titled "Das Floß der Medusa" (The Raft of Medusa), the placing of a red flag on the stage sparked a riot and the arrest of several people, including the librettist. Henze spent a year from 1969 to 1970 teaching in Cuba.

Hans Werner Henze composed the nine Sacred Concertos that comprise his "Requiem" over the course of three years from 1991 to 1993 on commissions from the London Sinfonietta, Suntory Corporation for the NHK Philharmonic, and Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne. The first movement, Introitus: Requiem Aeternam was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta as part of a memorial concert for Artistic Director Michael Vyner who died on 20 October 1989. In addition to Henze, the London Sinfonietta also commissioned seven other prominent composers (Luciano Berio, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Toru Takemitsu, Oliver Knussen, and Nigel Osborne) to write works in Vyner's memory to make up the program which was performed on the 6 May 1990.

The Requiem consists of nine Sacred Concertos that, with one exception, carry the common movement titles of the Requiem Mass, albeit out of order. Henze also chooses to interpolate the Ave verum corpus in with the other movements, though in his autobiography Bohemian Fifths he never expressly states why. Even though the movements carry the traditional titles, there are no singers, and no text within the work. In his autobiography, Henze states that this choice was made to open up the scope of the Requiem and make it a "...secular, multicultural piece, an act of brotherly love that was written, 'in memoriam Michael Vyner,'whose name does duty for all the many other people in the world who have died before their time and whose sufferings and passing are mourned in my music."

This is a live recording of the premiere performance from September 1993 in Berlin.


Tracklist:

1 I. Introitus: Requiem 4:03
2 Il. Dies Irae 7:19
3 Ill. Ave Verum 7:16
4 IV. Lux Aeterna 7:50
5 V. Rex Tremendae 7:20
6 Vl. Agnus Dei 7:57
7 Vll. Tuba Mirum 6:49
8 VIll. Lacrimosa 6:55
9 IX. Sanctus 7:29


Hans Werner Henze - Requiem (1994)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

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