Requiem Project: Part I

Part I of V

Friday, September 09, 2011

The first two hours of Q2's 10-hour Requiem Project mix features suggestions from listeners, compositions from contributing composers Meredith Monk and Ingram Marshall, a work whose U.S. choral premiere took place in The Greene Space at WQXR, stories from writers and religious leaders, and many other pieces that reflect on timeless and universal themes of loss and consolation. 

Read composer testimonials, listener suggestions and album liner notes for the selections below.

You can listen on-demand and view comprehensive playlists for all five parts by clicking on the desired two-hour segment. The five segments will run in series on Q2 here throughout the weekend. 

Part I (begins Friday, September 9 at 4 p.m.)

→ Part II (begins Friday, September 9 at 6 p.m.)

→ Part III (begins Friday, September 9 at 8 p.m.)

→ Part IV (begins Friday, September 9 at 10 p.m.)

→ Part V (begins Saturday, September 10 at 12 a.m.)


Part I Playlist

WNYC (September 11, 2003)

Q2R writes:
The description of this tape in the WNYC Archives actually gives two sources for these bells: the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, and Saint Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn. If you live near one of these churches and can identify the sound, post a comment below.


Messe de Requiem Gregorienne: Introit, Requiem aeternam, Gregorian chant
Deller Consort; Alfred Deller, conductor
Harmonia Mundi 2908304


Missa Pro defunctis: Introitus by Tomas Luis de Victoria
Ensemble Plus Ultra; Michael Noone, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon


Tony Hiss, writer
Interviewed by Leonard Lopate for WNYC (September 11, 2002)

Q2 writes:
Tony Hiss appeared on The Leonard Lopate Show to talk about his contribution to the collection 110 Stories: New York Writes after September 11.


Meredith MonkNew York Requiem by Meredith Monk
Meredith Monk, vocals; Harry Huff, piano
ECM 1589 

Meredith Monk writes:
In 1993, during the period of the AIDS crisis, my friend Tom Bogdan asked me to write a piece for him to sing. As I began working, I realized that this could be the requiem I had always wanted to write — not with the Latin text, because I didn’t want it to be literally Christian — but a requiem nonetheless.

→ Listen to the opening of New York Requiem, and read Meredith Monk's testimonial

9/11 by Yungchen Lhamo
Yungchen Lhamo, vocals; Rufus Cappadocia, cello; Anders Bostrom, bamboo flute
Real World 333300

Video of Yungchen Lhamo performing on WNYC

Elegy for Strings by Behzad Ranjbaran
Sejong Soloists
Naxos 570353


Unnamed religious leaders
WNYC (October 28, 2001)

Q2 writes:
These prayer fragments were recorded at a memorial service held at Ground Zero.


Fantasia on an Ostinato by John Corigliano
Andrew Russo, piano
Black Box 1106

Fotographist from Baltimore, MD writes:
John Corigliano's "Fantasia On an Ostinato for Solo Piano" performed by Andrew Russo...a beautiful postmodern take on one of the most (in my opinion) elegiac pieces of music in the canon of western music, the second movement of Beethoven's "Symphony #7". Either the original or the derivation would be appropriate, here...perhaps the later even more, however, for its connection of the contemporary psyche to the past.


Good Night, Op. 63: Lento tranquillissimo by Henryk Gorecki
London Sinfonietta; Dan Upshaw, soprano; John Constable, piano
Nonesuch 79362


Van Thien Tuong (Sad and Lonely Melody), Vietnamese Traditional music
Le Van Pho, tieu
King 5160

From the album liner notes:
This is an arrangement by Tron Quang Quyen of "Cai Luong," a melody originally from China but adapted by the Vietnamese around the turn of the century.


Quiet City by Aaron Copland
City of London Sinfonia; Richard Hickox, conductor; Crispian Steele-Perkins, trumpet; Helen McQueen, english horn
Virgin 90766

Karl from Bayside Queens, NY writes:
Quiet City , for obvious reasons.


Thumri in Raga Bhairavi by Neela Bhagwat
Neela Bhagwat, vocal; Anant Kunte, sarangi; Aneesh Bradhan, tabla; Rajasri Chandar, tampura

Neela Bhagwat writes:
Breaking a relationship is painful, hurtful.  You are scared of falling apart.  It is a struggle to collect yourself and to get back to living.  You must become strong enough to absorb the trauma and lead yourself with a smile.  That is the truth in life.  You have to learn to love, in spite of the hurts it involves.  That is possible only when you are yourself, come what may!


Dargilik, Tajik traditional
Khodapanah Berdov, satar; Karakhan Karakhanov, tanbur; Mahingul Nazarshaheva, vocal; ensemble members from Khorog, Rubab, and Qaval. 
Smithsonian Folkways 40438

From the album liner notes:
Dargilik is a kind of spiritual song based on poetic couplets that express the pain and hope of human destiny.


September Canons by Ingram Marshall
Todd Reynolds, violin with electronic processing
New World 80704

→ Listen to an excerpt from Ingram Marshall's Gradual Requiem, and read the composer's testimonial

Lux Aurumque (Light of Gold) by Eric Whitarce
Polyphony; Stephen Layton, conductor
Hyperion 67543


N. M. Kelby, writer
Interviewed by Leonard Lopate for WNYC (May 25, 2001)

Q2 writes:
N. M. Kelby appeared on New York & Company to talk about her book In the Company of Angels.


Lullaby for Lambs by Sainkho Namchylak
Letov, flute; Aleksandrov, basson
Cramworld 07609

From the album liner notes:
Sainkho is from Tuva, a country known for amazing singing traditions, including "throat singing.”  While she performs in contemporary music styles, she incorporates traditional styles, as well, such as on this piece.  This song, “Lullaby for Lambs,” is based on a song used by shamans/herders to persuade a female sheep to accept a lost lamb as her own.


Kalokalo, Madagascar Traditional music
Antanosy and Mahafaly Peoples
Ellipsis Arts 4200

From the album liner notes:
The famadihana tradition on Madagascar is an exhumation ceremony in which the dead are taken from their tombs and rewrapped in fresh clothes.  The festive atmosphere surprises outsiders who find it hard to understand the informality and familiarity that governs relationships between the living and the dead.


The Little Match Girl Passion: We Sit and Cry by David Lang
Theatre of Voices; Paul Hiller, Director
Harmonia Mundi 807496

David Lang writes:
The most interesting thing about how the Passion story is told is that it can include texts other than the story itself.  These texts are the reactions of the crowd, penitential thoughts, statements of general sorrow or shock or remorse.  these are devotional guideposts, the markers for our own responses to the story, and they have the effect of making the audience more than spectators to the sorrowful events onstage.

→ Video of David Lang's Little Match Girl Passion in The Greene Space at WQXR

Sourp, Sourp (Holy, Holy) by Komitas Vartabed of Gudina
The Camerata Singers; Alan Hovhaness, conductor
Diocesan Records 631

From the album liner notes:
Literally translated to: "Holy, Holy"  The Sanctus.  An awesome, reverent and inspirational part of the Badarak, "Sourp, Sourp" starts on a hushed A-major chord.  An almost inaudible seventh chord at the end, approached in a stepwise motion, elevates the spirit to the uttermost heights.


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Comments [2]

I can't let the last echoes of The Requiem Project fade completely without saying a special thanks to WNYC/WQXR's Q2, to Graham Parker and Alex Ambrose, Nadia Sirota and Helga Davis, to all their colleagues whose careful, thoughtful, painstaking work went into this unique monument in sound and text.

It would be treasure enough simply to hear ten hours of such intricately positioned musical treatments. The Greek heartbreak of Eleni Karaindrou's strings. The Ghanaian kick of royal funeral drumming. Leonard Bernstein's dogged "Laude" chorale. The soaring reach (right past Fauré) of Lisa Bielawa's "Lamentations."

But there were also these voices speaking to us, out of the years, out of dark corners and bright minds. Clive Barnes' lisping honesty about our fixations on the crisis. Stephen Jay Gould's musings on "the constant stories of goodness" in post-attack New York. The woman who "feeds" Saltines and Dr. Pepper to a memorial tree in honor of her lost husband. The policeman for whom a beautiful morning reminds him only of "the day hell broke loose."

I hope that Q2 and WQXR can bring us The Requiem Project for each anniversary of the September 2001 attacks. Memories are not so hard to come by, you know, especially these memories. But such a context for what we all need to say, a ground this eloquent, is rare.

Thank you for it.

Sep. 15 2011 09:02 PM
Cathy Fischer from Mohegan Lake, NY

Thank you so much for making this thoughtful and beautiful selection of music available to still listen to! It was such a busy weekend, that I had no time to tune in, and I am so relieved to see that I can still listen to the music in these two-hour segments at my leisure!

Sep. 13 2011 02:28 PM

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