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‘In Paradisum’ With MSO

Classical Preview

Jan. 20, 2010
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The effect of location on a composer’s works cannot often be overstated. Witness the output of late-Renaissance composer Giovanni Gabrieli (1553-1612), who succeeded his uncle (and fellow composer) Andrea Gabrieli as music director of Venice’s St. Mark Cathedral in 1586. Therein, he purposely wrote works that best utilized its widely separated choir lofts, achieving a distinctive sound all his own. Of his many works are the two remarkable books of Sacrae symphoniae (Sacred Symphonies), from which the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra & Chorus perform selections from Gabrieli’s first book.

French composer Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) truly took the Latin word “requiem” (rest) at face value when composing his Requiem, Op. 48 (1900), for it is a work of sublimity and peace, dispensing with the typical sturm und drang of the Dies irae (Day of Wrath) section. The result is a work that carefully balances more darkly hued elements with moments of radiance and serenity, ending with the rightly famous In Paradisum. The MSO Chorus, of course, is the star attraction here.

Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) found cause to compose his Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op. 61 (1910) owing to both his own knowledge of the instrument and—more immediately—the request of renowned violin virtuoso Fritz Kreisler. The result is one of the longest, most challenging violin concertos in the repertoire. In Elgar’s B Minor Concerto, the usual landmarks of the form are deliberately blurred, granting the piece a rather seamless, rhapsodic feel. Violinist Nikolaj Znaider joins the MSO under Edo de Waart for this work.

At Uihlein Hall on Jan. 22 and 23.


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