New York Philharmonic Plays Rouse's Requiem

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Monday, May 05, 2014

New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert and MarieJosée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse. New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert and MarieJosée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse. (Chris Lee)

The fourth and final edition of the Spring for Music festival, spotlighting adventurous programming among American orchestras, kicks off with a hometown band. The New York Philharmonic travels to Carnegie Hall to present the Requiem by its composer-in-residence Christopher Rouse. Listen above to the archived broadcast.

Rouse's 90-minute score was composed in honor of the 2003 bicentenary of Hector Berlioz's birth. Composed soon after 9/11, it features poems by Seamus Heaney, Siegfried Sassoon, Ben Jonson, Milton and Michelangelo, plus the traditional Latin text. The massive forces include adult choir, children's choir, baritone soloist and orchestra, including a large percussion section.

Online Exclusives:

Christopher Rouse explains how the piece addresses the notion of loss in both a personal and universal manner. "It uses every influence that I'm aware of in my work," he tells host David Garland. "All of that was to try to put across the idea of facing death, whether you're facing it yourself or if you're going on after the death of a loved one. But it is a very personal work and I think it's the best work I've composed."

Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert tells host David Garland about the orchestra's performance of the Requiem. "This work goes farther or comes from deeper in him than almost any other piece of his," he said. "It takes a lot out of you both technically but emotionally as well."


Program Details:

  • New York Philharmonic
    Alan Gilbert, Music Director
  • Jacques Imbrailo, Baritone
  • Westminster Symphonic Choir
    Joe Miller, Conductor
  • Brooklyn Youth Chorus
    Dianne Berkun-Menaker, Artistic Director

Below is the Requiem text. Note that two poems were not included due to copyright restrictions.

Comments [6]

PhillipAV from Lancaster, PA

Is the intonation of the choir in the Introitus that awful or did Mr. Rouse write in microtones??

Jul. 13 2014 11:07 PM
Reverend Bulworth from Northern Westchester

Thanks to the outstanding ushers I was upgraded to a private box on the first tier next to Alec Baldwin, thrilling night and performance! Also got to see Chris close up in the hallway.

May. 06 2014 09:40 AM

How great to hear this wonderful new work by Rouse! Fantastic!
I didn't hear you mention the name of the conductor of Westminster Choir when describing the end and the bows, but just said "choir directors." .... His name is Joe Miller. Westminster Symphonic Choir put a huge amount of time and energy into preparing this monumental work. Westminster Symphonic Choir has sung hundreds of concerts with the New York Philharmonic and all of the great conductors from Toscanini to the present. They should be recognized every bit as much as the NY Phil (who were fabulous, too). And when Alan Gilbert and Christopher Rouse turned to applaud the orchestra, they were also (of course) applauding the choir. Ah...there. Great. You're interviewing him now. (Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem with Vienna Philharmonic next season. Wow! When I was in Westminster Symphonic Choir, directed by the great Joseph Flummerfelt, many years ago, we sang with Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of Claudio Abbado. I had the honor to sing with them in many concerts with NY Phil (including recording Mahler's 2nd Symphony with Bernstein, and performing Britten's War Requiem with Rostropovitch conducting). These and many other performances with great orchestras and conductors were the amazing, unbeatable experiences that Westminster Choir College students *all* have several times a year.)
Anyway, my point is that works for chorus and orchestra require a great deal of skill and preparation on the part of the choir, and they should be acknowledged every bit as much as the orchestra.

May. 05 2014 09:49 PM

F. Thomas, there are connections between the Sequence (Dies irae, dies illa...) and the Communio (Libera me...). The latter refers to the imagery and language in the former. Both have the phrases "Dies illa, dies irae" and refer to the great earthquake. However, the Sequence is not in Fauré's setting of the Requiem text.

What a gorgeous and interesting piece! I'm so happy to have seen your post that this was being broadcast, and that I was able to hear at least some of it. Wow! Why are they in Carnegie Hall instead of Lincoln Center?

Bravo to all performers!

May. 05 2014 09:35 PM
Frank from UWS

Fascinating piece. The range of textures is stunning. Some of this low bass stuff sounds like it would belong in a Kubrick film.

May. 05 2014 08:03 PM
F. Thomas Simpson from Pasadena, CA

Um, I'm sorry. But Fauré *does* include the "Dies Irae" text. It's in the 6th movement of the Requiem's "Libera Me". It's just a small quote, but it's there.


May. 05 2014 02:25 PM

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