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Antonin Dvorák
1841 - 1904
Czech Republic
Picture Picture
A. Dvorák
Antonin Dvorák (08/09/1841 - 01/05/1904), a Czech composer, born in Nelahozeves (Bohemia). He wrote operas, choral works, orchestral works, chamber music, songs, etc.
Source: Grove’s dictionary of music and musicians
Requiem in B flat minor
Period:Romanticism
Composed in:1890
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Duration:ca.100'
Label(s):Supraphon 10 4241-2
Brillant Classics 99755
Decca 480 4850
Requiem (opus 89) for solo voices, chorus and orchestra. On New Year's eve of 1890 Dvořák set out to sketch the outlines of the work for the theme of which he had chosen the text of the Mass for the Deceased. It had been set to music so many times before, by so many great composers, invariably driven by the burning ruge to make a vital statement on life and death. In each case, the result was a work of utmost originality. Suffice it to recall Mozart, whose anguished circumstances drove him to compose something very close to his own epitaph; or Berlioz, reminiscing on the fallen heroes of the 1830 revelution; or Verdi, who rendered homage to the memory of the great poet Alessandro Manzoni. In Dvořák's case, death, either as a category or - still less- as a tragedy befalling a particular individual, was not the primary impulse. For him, the termination of life represented rather a firm point whence life could be viewed in retrospect and by whose import of meaning of life had to be measured.
Author:Jarmil Burghauser
After the mid-19yh century many important settings, including those of Schumann (1852), Moniuszko (1862), Saint-Saëns (1878) and Dvorák (1891), were conceived more in terms of the concert hall, inclining, by their grand scale and, in some cases, textual liberties, towards the oratorio, the most favoured sacred genre of the 19th century. Dvorák's setting, with a duration of some 95 minutes, is one of the longest of the period, and requires numerous text repetitions and short orchestral interventions to fill its symphonic ‘canvas’. Structural unity is enhanced by the use of a motto theme (drawn from the first notes of the plainchant introit), heard at the opening and recalled in several later movements.
Author:Steven Chang-Lin Yu