Giuseppe Verdi - Messa da Requiem

Although Requiem was a religious work, it was presented more in concert halls than in churches. Giuseppe Verdi wrote the famous Requiem in honour of his close friend, Alessandro Manzoni, the great Italian poet, writer, and humanist, who died in 1873. It is a powerful fusion of intense drama and passion, with moments of reverent simplicity. Verdi conducted the first performance at St. Mark's Church in Milan on May 22, 1874, the first anniversary of Manzoni's death. Revolutionary composition Verdi's Requiem has been revolutionary in two respects: First, because while the traditional requiem is a prayer of the living for the dead, Verdi's work was a function as much for the living as for the dead. As Verdi would expect, it's a dramatic, theatrical play. Written for four solo voices (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass) with full choir and orchestra, it follows the typical Roman Catholic Latin mass for the dead. The "libretto" certainly comes from the dram

Gershwin - Introduction

George Gershwin's musical journey has been unique in every aspect: Tin Pan Alley - Broadway - Hollywood - concert halls - lyrical theatres. Everywhere with a great success. No composer has enjoyed such recognition, in so many different fields and in such a short period of time.

As a songwriter, Gershwin appeared in the history of American music at the right time. As a composer he was able to ensure direct acceptance into the folk music of his land, giving it an artistic form.

Gershwin had in his mind the rules and technique of Western European music, but at his heart, the harmonys and rhythms of the American South. His imagination was nourished by the idioms of an original folk music. He was one of the first to understand the universality of its character. He borrowed from, bold harmonics and a transparent melancholy, which only counterpart in Schubert's songs detected.

His music is full of wondrous mixed melodies and rhythms. Unexpected chords succeed each other with incredible tossing precision. And his most profound musical reflections are pulsating with the incomparable power of truth and unpretentious inspiration. It is no coincidence that with his opera Porgy and Bess he offered humanity the most artful of the folk and the most folk of the artful works of a great art.

(George Monemvasitis)