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Richard Wernick
1934 -
United States of America, MA
Picture Picture
R. Wernick
Richard Wernick (16/01/1934), an American composer, born in Boston, MA. He taught at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the University of Chicago; 1996 saw his retirement from the University of Pennsylvania, where he had taught since 1968, and was Magnin Professor of Humanities.
Kaddish requiem
Composed in:1971
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:Latin, German and Hebrew
In memory of:the victims of Indo-China
Label(s):Elektra Nonesuch 9 79222-2
A secular service for the victims of Indo-China for mezzo-soprano, chamber ensemble and tape. Duration: 18'.
1. "...alles Fleisch..."
2. Kaddish
3. Requiem aeternam
Commissioned by the Philadelphia Composers Forum, 1971. First performance by Philadelphia Composers Forum, Fall 1971; performed by New York Contemporary Chamber Ensemble at Library of Congress, March 1973.

♫ Kaddish requiem
© Elektra Nonesuch 9 79222-2
"Sunday evening I heard a piece of contemporary music so compelling, so intellectually stimulating, to which I also had such a strong emotional response, that I was literally drawn back to the Monday evening performance - there was simply no other choice. That work was Kaddish Requiem by composer Richard Wernick... an example of protest music which works and will endure. It does so because it captures a universal emotion of lament, a contrast of violence and serenity in musical language which can be understood on many levels."
Source:Pearson, Albuquerque Journal
"...intensely eloquent. Its central section is based on the Jewish "Kaddish" rite for the dead, and by the use of tape collage effects it transforms a single cantor's voice into a striking chorus of grief for human suffering. This section is bracketed by others that draw motifs from Brahms' German Requiem, Renaissance polyphony and the Catholic Requiem Mass, and the composer's integration of these works into a single entity with a unified impact is an impressive tour de force."
Source:Washington Post
"If you enjoy music that stirs the intellect and the emotions - that stretches your imagination as you listen, don't miss tonight's performance. The music stands on its own without the need for explanation or a story to tie it to an event in American life. ...the emotional effect is enough to move the listener to tears. The reason for this impact lies with Wernick's genius, and the reality of it was apparent from the expressions of the people in the audience Sunday." — Hillerman.
Source:The New Mexican
"… Has something to say, and says it strongly and affectingly."
Source:Salzman, Stereo Review
"The invisible but very real harmonies and organization of the piece gave it a rationality that pleased listeners and drew praise, we discovered later, from the performing musicians"
Source:Santa Fe Reporter
"… I’m prepared now to declare Richard Wernick’s Kaddish-Requiem a masterpiece."
Source:Lamply, WAPV-TV (Washington, DC)