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

Johannes Brahms - Introduction

Portrait of the composer Johannes Brahms in a mature age with a long beard.

At a time when every artist's concern was the proposal of the new, Johannes Brahms dared to turn his gaze to the old. He was more interested in the past than in the future. 

Romantic lyricism didn't miss from the music he signed. But each of his musical phrases was subject to the rules of classicism, in a way that symbolized the rewriting of romance and indicated the support of pure form.

Both in the aesthetics and in the form of his works, Brahms proclaims his opposition to the pompous lyrical dramas of his compatriot and contemporary Richard Wagner. His refusal to deal with opera, a musical genre extremely well-benefited and popular in the 19th century, can also be seen as a manifestation of his opposition. He possessed well, however, both the technique of symphonic writing and the methods of using the voice.

Johannes Brahms served with merit every form of music, except of course opera. His music stands out for its total tranquility, for its earthly and human fervor, for the understandable logic of its harmonious processing, for the clarity of its melodic line. It is dominated by a thoughtful mood balanced between subtle melancholy, restless sensitivity and endless contemplation.

With its poetic character, which reconciles power and serenity, Brahms's musical discourse takes the form of subtle chamber music.

(George Monemvasitis)