On this day in 1900, the world first heard the Requiem of Gabriel Fauré in its full orchestral version at a concert at the Paris World Exhibition. Faure’s Requiem ranks today among his best-known and best-loved compositions, and omits all reference to the terrors of the Last Judgment which appear in the traditional liturgical text, concentrating instead on comforting the bereaved. The Requiem was originally written for chorus and a more intimate chamber ensemble, and was occasioned by Fauré’s sorrow at the death of his own father.
The American composer Christopher Rouse has written a number of works dealing with the passing of friends and colleagues—works half-seriously, half-jokingly referred to as Rouse’s “Death Cycle.” Rouse’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Trombone Concerto from 1991 is dedicated to the memory of Leonard Bernstein; his Symphony No. 2, from 1994, contains a tribute to the young composer Stephen Albert, who died in a car crash; and a section of his Flute Concerto from 1993 reflects the composer’s shock upon reading an account of the senseless tragedy of a two-year-old child, abducted from an English shopping mall and killed by two ten-year-olds.
Los Angeles Times critic Mark Swed has noted that much of Rouse’s work is “music of leave-taking… but it is also a music of catharsis, survival and a celebration of being alive.”
Music Played in Today's Program
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)RequiemThe Cambridge Singers; John Rutter, cond.Collegium 101
Christopher Rouse (b. 1949)Symphony No. 2 and Flute ConcertoCarol Wincenc, flute; Houston Symphony; Christoph Eschenbach, cond.Telarc 80452