BRUNO MADERNA (1920-1973): Requiem for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 10R009
Description: This magnificent setting is a very early work, from 1946, long believed lost, until its rediscovery in 2006. Pre-serial, pre-Darmstadt, the work contains a good deal of tonality, with echoes of Hindemith, Petrassi and Maderna's teacher, Malipiero, and rich, late-romantic harmony and opulent orchestral texture. Written during the Second World War, it is hard not to see this passionate, tragic work as a 'war requiem' of sorts. The enormous forces - three pianos, much percussion, double chorus and very large orchestra - are used to thunderous effect in the monumental Dies irae, but equally remarkable are the unusual timbres produced by more modest groupings- some highly unorthodox, hinting at the composer's future experimentalism and exquisitely tuned conductor's ear while remaining true to the idiom of the work, and the long, eloquent, very Italian vocal lines given to the soloists in prayerful supplications and entreaties. There are no interpolated texts, and aside from some shattering expressionist sections of the Dies irae (one of which provides the work's cataclysmic final climax) the work is a grand, extrovert setting of the traditional text (with some rearrangement of the standard order) as suited to the cathedral as the concert hall. The masterful contrapuntal textures of the splendid Sanctus, clearly derived from Venetian polyphony, and the restrained dignity of the opening Requiem aeternam and the Agnus Dei, the latter beautifully simple and melodic, the luminosity of the Lux aeterna, make this a profoundly moving work. Diana Tomsche (soprano), Kathrin Göring (contralto), Bernhard Berchtold (tenor), Renatus Mészár (bass), Middle German Radio Choir Leipzig, Robert Schumann Philharmonic; Frank Beerman.