BSO, Baltimore Choral Arts Society Perform Mozart's Requiem, 2/28-3/3

BSO, Baltimore Choral Arts Society Perform Mozart's Requiem, 2/28-3/3

Russian-American conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Choral Arts Society in a performance of Mozart's Requiem on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 8 p.m and Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH).

The program will also feature Arvo Pärt's Tabula Rasa. On Friday, March 1st, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will announce the 2013-2014 subscription season. To celebrate the news, the BSO will host a 2013-2014 Season Announcement Party in the Meyerhoff lobby prior to the concert on March 2, 2013. Patrons can enjoy pre-concert festivities that include special drink offerings and opportunities to win an iPad, BSO subscriptions, gift certificates to local restaurants and BSO recordings. (Editor's Note: An invitation to members of the media to attend and more details about the 2013-2014 Season Announcement Party will be shared at a later date.) Please see below for complete program details.

Mozart's Requiem was completed in 1791, the final year of Mozart's brief but exceptionally accomplished life. The Requiem is unique among Mozart's works not only because of its timing as his ultimate piece, but also because of its deeply personal nature. With its descent into somber melodies, minor keys and a bittersweet rising-and-falling theme, the Requiem parallels Mozart's own tragic last year which was fraught with financial woes, an ailing wife and a fall from fame. Mozart's Requiem is a particularly singular piece when compared to the radiant compositions he produced in Vienna between 1784 and 1786, which reveled in virtuosity and success but failed to provide the intimate connection to Mozart found in the Requiem. The Requiem reveals Mozart's sense of darkness and resignation during his downfall through the use of a modest orchestra, which leaves behind the trumpets, drums and even Mozart's beloved clarinets in favor of a more humble chamber style. The Requiem exchanges the more dazzling notes of his earlier works for longing melodies and slow movements that explore emotions, complexities and subtleties embodied in Mozart's own life. All of the Requiem's distinctions created what acclaimed Viennese musicologist Alfred Orel (1889-1967) called "a universe of 'noble simplicity and calm grandeur,'" which captures the audience and holds them in a suspended state of serenity and intimacy in this highly personal composition.

The program will also include Arvo Pärt's Tabula Rasa, meaning "blank slate" in Latin. Tabula Rasa is a delicate, hypnotic piece that perfectly exemplifies Pärt's unique minimalist style. The composition draws from Pärt's study of traditional Russian orthodox chant and 14th-16th Western European vocal music, which inspired him to create a new technique called "tintinnabuli" or "little bells" that relishes silence and uses notes sparingly. Tabula Rasa is the longest of Pärt's tintinnabuli works and illustrates his dramatic use of silence, with the first movement building gradually to a climax of two solo violins-the BSO's own Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins and Principal Second Violin Qing Li--"wiping the slate clean" and closing with the piece slowly fading back into the stillness from which it emerged. In Pärt's own words, tintinnabuli style "was beautiful; it was quiet and beautiful."

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