Berio, Cerha, Dittrich, Kopelent, Harbison, Nordheim, Rands, Weir, Dalbavie, Penderecki, Rihm, Yuasa, Schnittke/Rozhdestvensky & Kurt‡g

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COMPOSERS: Berio,Cerha,Dalbavie,Dittrich,Harbison,Kopelent,Nordheim,Penderecki,Rands,Rihm,Schnittke/Rozhdestvensky & Kurtág,Weir,Yuasa
LABELS: Hanssler
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Requiem Der Versöhnung
WORKS: Prologue; Epilogue; Communio
PERFORMER: Tobias Janzik (treble), Donna Brown, Julie Moffat (sop), Ingeborg Danz (alto), Thomas Randle (tenor), Andreas Schmidt (bass); Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Kraków Chamber Choir, Israel PO/Helmuth Rilling
CATALOGUE NO: 98.931 DDD
On 16 August in Stuttgart there occurred something extraordinary: the first performance of a Requiem of Reconciliation written by 14 composers from countries involved in the Second World War. Fifty years after the end of hostilities, and even while the former Yugoslavia festers in the obscenity of conflict, the motivation for the commission was abundantly clear. This is the rush-released recording of that momentous event.

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From Berio’s ‘Prologue’, to words by Paul Celan, to Kurtág’s intensely dark ‘Epilogue’, the Requiem never loses its intensity. If Cerha’s Introitus and Kyrie and the sequence by Dittrich, Kopelent, Harbison and Nordheim, together throw too much fire and brimstone into the melting pot, Rands’s ‘Interludium’ presages more lyrical music. First comes Dalbavie’s Offertorium, then Weir’s celestial Sanctus and Penderecki’s ripe Agnus Dei. Rihm’s ‘Communio’ returns us to the terrors of war, symbolised in the vocal exchanges of child-figure and mother-figure amid massive percussive eruptions. Schnittke’s second ‘Communio’, completed by Rozhdestvensky, lends a gentler angle to the text; and Yuasa’s substantial ‘Responsorium’ ends the liturgy with a powerful plea.

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The German and Polish choirs, the Israel Philharmonic, and all the vocal soloists rise wonderfully to the moving spirit of the occasion. Helmuth Rilling conducts with the right mix of dignity and passion. Stephen Pettitt