Monday, November 14, 2016

Requiem


If I could only get to one concert this season it would have to be this past Saturday evening's concert with the Calgary Philharmonic.  Featuring Beethoven's Piano Concerto #4 and the Mozart Requiem, I truly would have walked to Calgary if I had to.  Fortunately, Greyhound took me instead.  I spent a couple of nights in the city so that I would be well-rested and focused.  I also used mu time to pick up a very nice new camera and do some bird-watching but I'll get to that in a future post.

My only fear with this concert is that I've heard both works so many times I thought I might be disappointed simply because I have a very clear idea in my mind of what I like.  I first heard the Mozart Requiem back in my early teens and having played piano growing up, I've known this particular Beethoven piano concerto for probably just as long, if not longer.  Suffice it to say, I was very impressed.

Most Mozart music seems rather happy and cheerful, because it does tend to be happy and cheerful for the most part.  The Requiem comes as a bit of a shock, darker and more foreboding.  Like the Piano Concerto #20, the Requiem is also in the key of D minor, and it uses a lot of older forms, the fugue in particular, hearkening back in time to something Bach was a master at, rather than looking forward to, say, Beethoven.  Call me stuck in the 18th century, but I've always loved fugues.  I really have no idea why.  I just love how a composer and take 3 or 4 different lines of music and fit them together in such a way as to make them harmonious rather than just a mess of sound.  All this to say that the Kyrie, which was written in fugal form, was absolutely brilliant.  As an aside, I went to university with the CPO's choir master Timothy Shantz, and he did an outstanding job with the choir. Altogether, this was a little darker-sounding piece than what I was used to hearing at a slightly faster tempo and it just worked for me.  

Coming just a day after Remembrance Day, this piece seemed a very appropriate choice and I must say hats off to the CPO for having a number of military and first responders in uniform as guests of the orchestra.

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