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

Hector Berlioz - Events in brief

A caricature of Berlioz, whose music was considered modern and unusual.

1803 Hector Berlioz was born in 11 October in the commune of La Côte-Saint-André, France.
1815 He falls in love with his neighbor's 18-year-old daughter, Estelle Dubœuf.
1820 He's going to Paris for medical studies.
1826 He is admitted to the Paris Conservatory.
1830 First performance of the "Symphonie fantastique", wins the "Rome Prize" and goes to Italy.
1833 He's marrying Irish actress Harriet Smithson.
1834 His only son Louis is born.
1846 First visit to London.
1854 Harriet dies, marries his long-time mistress Marie Recio.
1863 First performance of the opera "Les Troyens".
1864 Marie dies, renews contact with Estelle, who is now 67 years old.
1869 Dies March 8 in Paris.

  • When Berlioz learned that Camille was marrying someone else, he vowed to go back to Paris and kill Camille and her mother, who had written him the news. He procured a maid's uniform to disguise himself and a pair of pistols to complete his plans.
  • In 1834, the great violinist Paganini commissioned Berlioz to compose a solo viola work, but lost interest before it was completed - and Berlioz lost his reward. Later that year, Paganini listened to the work he had rejected at a Berlioz's concerto and, full of remorse, sent the composer 20,000 francs - money more than two years' wages.