JOHN HARBISON (b.1938): Requiem.
Catalogue Number: 11U060
Description: Harbison's solemn, imposing Requiem was written over a period of 17 years, but doesn't sound like it; the composer confesses surprise that the original mid-1980s conception of the work closely matched the layout, harmonic structure, and design of the final piece, even though the occurrence of 9/11 just after the commission contract was signed inevitably influenced the contemporary urgency of such a work at such a time. Harbison interpolates no additional texts, finding the multiply sourced ancient and venerable text sufficient to express universal sentiments of love, loss, and redemption. In this context, Harbison cites the more specific message of Britten's War Requiem as requiring additional texts, but the shadow of that great work falls distantly over this one in other ways. The Requiem is original and striking, but in a relatively traditional mold, with gorgeous solo lines - the thread of melody that runs through the piece unifies and humanises it - choral and vocal counterpoint that dates to the Baroque but in modern tonal harmonies, and a richness of emotional depth and harmonic and textural intricacy that make it a more than worthy addition to the distinguished tradition of concert requiems. Jessica Rivera (soprano), Michaela Martens (mezzo), Nicholas Phan (tenor), Kelly Markgraf (baritone), Nashville Symphony Chorus, Nashville Symphony; Giancarlo Guerrero.