HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Requiem for Piano, Trumpet and Large Chamber Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 12M070
Reference: KiG 003
Description: Henze's approach to the requiem is an unusual one, not least in that his work in nine movements follows the (rearranged) divisions of the Catholic liturgy, but in instrumental form; the composer is moreover a self-proclaimed atheist. The work was written as an epitaph for his long-time friend Michael Vyner (of London Sinfonietta fame), but also addresses Henze's concurrent outrage over the first Gulf War. Parts of the work were transcribed from the composer's piano quintet; others were conceived as a trumpet concerto but became part of the larger work, others were interpolated to complete the structure. Henze reinterprets the message of the sections of the Mass in terms of universal themes of human suffering, remembrance, loss, and hope for the future - recurring ideas throughout his output. Thus the terrifying Dies irae (which quotes the plainchant), Tuba mirum and Rex tremendæ portray military brutality, war, murder and torture; the Lacrimosa concerns human suffering, while the Introitus and Ave verum corpus are more personal statements of grief related to Vyner's death. The radiant Lux æterna is a celebration of life, not the afterlife. Much of the music is freely atonal - some of the brutal military music all but unpitched - though the emotionally intimate sections are tonal in a very chromatic, expressionistic sense, and tonal fragments and referents are a necessary part of Henze's very personal expressive style. Contains two discs of interviews with Henze and others in German. 3 CDs. Dimitri Vassilakis (piano), Reinhold Friedrich (trumpet), Bochum Symphony; Steven Sloane. SACD hybrid