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ANTONÍN REJCHA: REQUIEM

DNI 152

DNI166   [8595056601667]   released 9/2019   VIDEO

play album Requiem 55:44
1. Requiem 7:04
2. Dies irae 1:07
3. Tuba mirum 2:12
4. Liber scriptus 5:30
5. Rex tremendae 2:05
6. Recordare 4:46
7. Confutatis 3:14
8. Lacrimosa 2:17
9. Domine Jesu 6:32
10. Hostias 5:29
11. Sanctus 2:17
12. Benedictus 5:02
13. Agnus Dei 8:06

Emöke Baráth: soprano 
Markéta Cukrová: alt 
Krystian Adam: tenor 
Tomáš Šelc: bass 

L’Armonia Terrena, conducted by ZdenÄ›k Klauda

  

Requiem (Missa pro defunctis) is Rejcha’s ultimate work that combines all his original knowledge in the field of harmony, form, counterpoint and instrumentation. The unique amalgam combines the heritage of fugue, classicist moderation and romantic sound, later made famous by one of Rejcha‘s most important students, Hector Berlioz. Despite a wide range of means of expression, or perhaps because of this, Rejcha wrote a truly spiritual, liturgical work that, even with its own distinctiveness, does not lose its servant character, which can be seen as another expression of his paramount mastery.


Antonín Rejcha, a musical nobleman in emigration
     I have always perceived Antonín Rejcha’s music as very refined and extremely remarkable even during repeated listening. This spontaneous feeling, which I have not been able to explain for a long time, is based on Rejcha‘s deep compositional erudition, but on the other hand reflects the composer‘s sensitive, humble and intellectually oriented personality. In this way, Rejcha combines the courage of the seeker with a sense of balance in the proportions of form, architecture and other components of the musical language, giving his music the hallmark of aristocratic grandeur.
     Missa pro defunctis is Rejcha’s ultimate work that combines all his original knowledge in the field of harmony, form, counterpoint and instrumentation. The unique amalgam combines the heritage of fugue, classicist moderation and romantic sound, later made famous by one of Rejcha‘s most important students, Hector Berlioz. Despite a wide range of means of expression, or perhaps because of this, Rejcha wrote a truly spiritual, liturgical work that, even with its own distinctiveness, does not lose its servant character, which can be seen as another expression of his paramount mastery.
     With his mathematical sense of order, Rejcha can be even compared to Johann Sebastian Bach. The resemblance is best reflected in the counterpoint forms, and in the case of this Requiem, in all fugues. The most Bach-like part is the final fugue „Cum sanctis tuis in aeternum“, whose thematic head is related to the subject of Bach’s Musical Sacrifice (Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079). Although the initial tones of the theme are in a somewhat different order, the characteristic intervals (minor chord and diminished seventh) and the final descending chromatics are preserved. A very strict method of theme processing is similar but significantly different from Rejcha’s revolutionary collection of 36 fugues for piano, in which the innovation goes far beyond the standard practice of his day.
     Rejcha is also economical in shaping other thematic material: the introductory „Requiem aeternam“ is very ascetic; there are no stunning melodic ideas that would draw attention away from the text and its meaning, only coloring and supporting the text by means of harmonious, stylistic and instrumental work. As if he had entered the musical world of the late Beethoven, who at this stage of his life gave up many of the advances of the Classicist style and also turned to counterpoint forms. Another remarkable part is „Tuba mirum“, which is quite untypically entrusted to the solo tenor. This section begins with a low-pitched sound of timpani, brass, bassoons and clarinets. This darkened atmosphere is interrupted by a trumpet trio bursting into the last judgment, calling the „sleepers from the gra ves“. Each of the other parts then opens another chamber of this spiritual space. The liturgical text is thus an inspiration for Rejcha when choosing a musical language and its stylistic nuances. Very untypical is the part „Lacrimosa dies illa“, which is clearly composed in the „alla breve“ feeling in the tempo of Allegro non troppo, but the syncope of the violin, which brings with it turmoil and restlessness, is faster than the basic fourths in the choral voices. The text „Huic ergo parce Deus, Pie Jesu Domine“ is then set to music as a one-voice chant that emerges from other musical events (we decided to support this stylistic idea by choosing another timbre). The crystal-clear and Mozart-sounding Benedictus, which is composed as a soprano aria with a chorus, emerges from the overall introverted dark atmosphere. The whole work is concluded by the aforementioned great fugue „Cum sanctis tuis“.
     This Mass for the deceased is a modest work, free from any showiness and pomp. In it Rejcha gave up his „ego“ and put all his abilities, tastes and intellect in the service of the Christian faith, which makes him stand „cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es“.

Zdeněk Klauda

Antonín Rejcha (1770–1836) was one of the most important Czech musicians whose career was based outside their homeland. His versatile personality encompassed creative talent, first-class knowledge of music theory and teaching skills. Born in Prague, he soon lost his father and, at the age of ten, left the unsatisfactory family situation to live with his uncle Josef Rejcha (1752–1795), a native of ChudÄ›nice in the Klatovy area, the first cellist of a band in Oettingen-Wallerstein and after 1785 conductor of the Electoral court music in Bonn. Under his uncle’s tutelage, he learned to play several musical instruments and became a member of the Bonn orchestra, in which at the same time Ludwig van Beethoven played the viola. In 1794 he fled to Hamburg as Napoleon’s troops were approaching. There he wrote his opera Obaldi ou Les Français en Egypte to a French libretto and hoped to make it a success in Paris. However, Opéra-comique rejected it and Rejcha decided to move to Vienna, perhaps in the hope of finding a more sympathetic audience and especially to be closer to his idol, Joseph Haydn. Yet even here he remained largely unsuccessful in the dramatic field. Although Prince Lobkowitz arranged a private staging of his opera L’Ouragan, and although it was at the direct behest of Emperor Franz II’s wife Maria Theresa that Rejcha composed another of his operas, Argene regina di Granata to the libretto of Giambattista Casti, even the latter was staged only privately and his career was not helped even by the fact that the title role was sung by the Empress herself. Still, he rejected the offer of Prussian Prince Louis Ferdinand who wanted to employ him in his services.
     In 1808 he returned to Paris and settled to live there permanently. As a private teacher, he passed on his theoretical knowledge to young composition students, and in 1818 was appointed Professor of Counterpoint at the Paris Conservatoire. Some of his students were Adolphe Adam, Hector Berlioz, Franz Liszt, Friedrich von Flotow, César Franck, Charles Gounod, George Onslow and Henri Vieuxtemps, to name just a few. In 1829 he acquired French citizenship and two years later was made Knight of the Legion of Honor (Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur). A year before his death, he became a member of the Academy of Fine Arts (Académie des Beaux-Arts).
     During his life, Rejcha wrote countless instrumental compositions, including symphonies, instrumental concertos, piano and organ pieces and chamber works for various instruments. Of these, wind quintets became especially popular, so much that the stabilization of this type of instrumentation is ascribed to Rejcha more than to anybody else. However, during his lifetime he was especially valued as a theorist. His knowledge of counterpoint foreshadowed the new possibilities to employ the composition technique which seemed to be out of date at the time when musical Classicism was being succeeded by Romanticism. In his 36 fugues for piano he showed the future generations of composers how to employ the technique of fugue in a new and multifaceted way. Although Beethoven, a friend of his youth, commented in his 1802 letter to his Leipzig publisher Breitkopf on Rejcha’s experiments as a method wherein “a fugue ceases to be a fugue,” it was actually him who later developed Rejcha’s innovations, especially in his mature string quartets.
     Rejcha died unexpectedly at the age of 66 and obituaries teemed with astonishment at the death of the man who led a quiet life, fully devoted to his work, an outstanding teacher and theorist in whose works “excellent results of music mathematics” can be found, yet – with the exception of wind quintets and some orchestral works – “only little comfort and refreshment.” Not until much later, audiences became able to benefit from the riches of Rejcha’s personality as both a theorist and creative artist.
     Rejcha’s Missa pro defunctis (Requiem) was composed during his stay in Vienna between 1802–1808. It was thought lost for many years and the early dictionaries and monographs either ignored it altogether or gave incorrect information about it. It was not until almost 150 years later that several studies gradually brought some clarity into the history of this composition. As the autograph preserved in the BibliothÄŤque national de France shows, Rejcha probably resumed this composition in his later years in Paris, possibly in connection with a planned concert. The autograph shows numerous later corrections, and performing parts have also been preserved; however, the concert obviously never took place. Also, the final part is missing from the manuscript. Considerable merit in rediscovering and acknowledging Rejcha belongs to Czech musicologists JiĹ™í VyslouĹľil and Olga Šotolová, and in the case of Requiem, Stanislav OndráÄŤek who transcribed the piece based on sources and created his own instrumentation of the missing bars before the final fugue (Et lux perpetua luceat eis) and the conclusion Cum sanctis tuis in aeternam, a part not included in Rejcha’s score.
     In his treatise on the art of composition (Traité de haute composition, Paris 1826), in the section devoted to vocal fugue with orchestral accompaniment, Rejcha writes about various possibilities offered to the composer by modern orchestra instruments for the technique of polyphony combined with singing. As examples he mentions plain doubling of vocal parts by several instruments; the accompaniment by string instruments as fugue with one or more subjects; accompaniment by only wind instruments; accompaniment by the whole orchestra; and accompaniment by instruments whereby the wind instruments are also used in solos. He added a notated example for the fourth instance, i.e. a setting to music of a text section from the Proper of the Requiem, Cum sanctis tuis in aeternam, part Lux aeternam, and remarked: “If we accompany the vocal fugue by a full orchestra, first we double the singing voices by string instruments and then double them again by wind instruments in the unison or octave, as feasible. Today, this is usually the case. A fugue accompanied in this way becomes a triple fugue, as it is simultaneously performed by vocal, string and wind parts. As for instruments like horns, trombones and timpani, these can be used here and there to unify the whole and increase its effect. Here is an example of such a triple fugue, the main subject of which has already been worked on by other composers.” The composer of Cum sanctis tuis is not named in Rejcha’s treatise and it was not until the second half of the twentieth century that it was established that it is the missing part of the Requiem. It seems that he picked this part out of his score and used it in his theoretical writing. His claim that the main subject had been already used by several composers was exemplified by American musicologist Amy Goodman Weller as referring to the main theme of the fugue in the Kyrie part of Mozart’s Requiem and also to the musical idea of Handel’s oratorio Messiah. Rejcha was able to hear both these compositions during his stay in Vienna, at the time when he was working on his Requiem.
Rejcha’s Missa pro defunctis is frequently referred to as a link between Mozart’s Requiem and Berlioz’s Messa da Requiem, the latter being composed for a concert hall and thus free from any liturgical purpose, especially in the choral and orchestral parts betraying Rejcha’s influence. Rejcha’s Requiem is already a spiritual drama as understood by later composers. It treats the Latin text in a traditional way; choral parts usually have a homophonic arrangement; only two parts use a vocal solo, viz. Tuba mirum (tenor) and Benedictus (soprano); an important role is played by the vocal solo quartet. In his operas, Rejcha was accused of the lack of dramatic sense, yet in this composition it is manifested by a number of unconventional features in the choral movement, in the use of instrumental effects (e.g. three trumpets in Tuba mirum), in surprising harmonic modulations including unresolved dissonances or those resolved only after a delay, and in the application of harmonic secondary functions). Noteworthy is the use of fugue in the parts Kyrie, Quam olim Abrahae, Hosanna, Requiem aeternam and Cum sanctis. In the orchestra, the strings carry the greatest weight; the wind instruments counterbalance their sound and produce tonal effects in expressive moments; they are also entrusted with smaller solos or duplicated with vocal parts, as the composer demanded in his treatise.
     Stanislav OndráÄŤek’s reconstruction of Rejcha’s Requiem was performed on 12 February 1986, most likely as the world premiere. The soloists were VÄ›nceslava Hrubá Freibergerová, Jadwiga Rappé, Štefan Margita and Tamás Bátor. The Prague Philharmonic Choir and DvoĹ™ák Chamber Orchestra were conducted by František Vajnar. The same material was used for the recording with a modified soloist cast (VÄ›nceslava Hrubá Freibergerová, Anna Barová, Vladimír DoleĹľal and LudÄ›k Vele) and with conductor Lubomír Mátl (Supraphon 11 0332-2 331, 1990, reedition 2005). A new edition of Rejcha’s Requiem based on his autograph and other sources, with the missing bars reconstructed from the surviving performing parts and including the recently discovered part Cum sanctis, was prepared by Amy Goodman Weller (Middleton: A-R Editions, 2008). This edition has also served as the basis of a new production and the present recording.

PhDr. Vlasta Reittererová 

Hungarian soprano EmĹ‘ke Baráth studied piano and harp and then singing at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. She captured the attention of the critics by winning several prestigious competitions (Cesti Innsbruck, Grand Prix Verbier Festival Academy).
     An important beginning of her career and discography was the role of Sesto in Handel‘s Giulio Cesare under Alan Curtis and the recording of this opera for NaÄŹve, released in 2013
She sings in important roles and works with the most prestigious conductors and orchestras: Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (conductor Marc Minkowski); Romilda in Cavalli’s Xerse at Opéra de Lille, Théâtre de Caen and Theater an der Wien in concert version; Handel’s Messiah with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Washington Symphony Orchestra (conductor Nathalie Stutzmann); tour in the role of Morgana in Handel’s Alcina (conductor Ottavio Dantone) with Philippe Jaroussky and Inga Kalna; in Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor with Bergen Philharmonic and SaĹ‘ Paulo Symphony Orchestra (conductor Nathalie Stutzmann); Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (conductor Laurence Equilbey); Cavalli’s Hipermestra at Glyndebourne Festival (conductor William Christie).
     Also important is her discography with recordings for Erato-Warner Classics, NaÄŹve, Alpha Classic, Cpo, Glossa, Hungaroton. She has exclusivity for Erato-Warner Classics.
     In January 2019, she dedicated her first solo CD Voglio Cantar to the Italian composer Barbara Strozzi.

The mezzo-soprano Markéta Cukrová is a unique phenomenon on the Czech scene of vocal music. For her extraordinary versatility and sense of style, she is a sought-after performer of music from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Her long-term achievements performing „old“ music brought her cooperation with renowned domestic and foreign ensembles and orchestras (La Risonanza, Mala Punica, Les Muffatti, Collegium Marianum, Ensemble Tour, Club Collegium 1704, Musica Florea, Ensemble Inégal, Czech Ensemble Baroque, the Wroclaw Philharmonic, the {OH} Orkiestra Historyczna, the Göttingen Festival Orchestra, with which she has participated in more than twenty recordings.
     Her Eight Italian Arias by J. D. Zelenka with Ensemble Tourbillon and J. J. Ryba’s Stabat Mater with the L’Armonia Terrena Chamber Orchestra, which received the DIAPASON découverte 2017, enjoy the interest of the European professional community. A CD with the Moravian Duets by Antonín DvoĹ™ák to be released this year will be accompanied on the composer’s own piano.
     She was a programming director of the successful Baroque 2015 festival in the West Bohemian Region, part of the Pilsen 2015 European Capital of Culture project.
In addition to her extensive concert activities, she also works in theater. For the role of Dardanus in Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula at the Handel-Festspiele in Göttingen, Germany, she has received enthusiastic acclaim and an invitation to the festival for an independent recital. This was followed by guest performances on the stages of the National Theaters in Košice (Handel / Alcina), Brno (MartinĹŻ / The Miracles of Mary, Purcell / Dido and Aeneas, Saariaho / Love at a Distance, Rossini / Le comte Ory), Prague (Monteverdi / Orfeo, Handel / Rinaldo, MartinĹŻ / Julietta) and Ostrava (Britten / The Rape of Lucretia, Gluck / Iphigenia in Aulis). In recent years she has been shortlisted twice in the Opera plus poll for the best opera singer of the season. In 2018 she was nominated for the Thalia Prize for the role of Pilgrim in the production of Love at a Distance and the Amber for Artists Award of the Moravian-Silesian Region for the role of Bianca in the production of The Rape of Lucretia

Polish tenor Krystian Adam studied at the Academy of Music in Wroclaw and at the Conservatorio di Musica in Milan. He is intensely engaged in Baroque music and collaborates with prestigious conductors and ensembles: Claudio Abbado (Orchestra Mozart); Giovanni Antonini (Il Gardino Armonico); Fabio Biondi (Europa Galante); Ottavio Dantone (Accademia Bizantina); Fabio Bonizzoni (La Risonanza); Theodor Currentzis (musicAeterna); Alan Curtis (Il Complesso Barocco); Václav Luks (Collegium 1704).
     He featured in Monteverdi‘s L’Orfeo (title role) and Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria (Telemaco) conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms), Teatro La Fenice, Salzburger Festspiele and Philharmonie Berlin.
He has also performed at the Teatro alla Scala in La fanciulla del West (R. Chailly) and Il Ritorno di Ulisse (R. Alessandrini); at Covent Garden in Adriana Lecouvreur (D. Oren), Le Nozze di Figaro (I. Bolton) and Idomeneo (D. Oren).
     He recently appeared in Lyon as Grimoaldo in Handel’s Rodelinda (S. Montanari); Arbace in Idomeneo at Teatro Real in Madrid (l. Bolton) and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Israeli opera in Tel Aviv (D. Oren).

Tomáš Šelc graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts and Conservatory in Bratislava. He is a versatile performer, dedicated to spiritual music and songwriting, as well as opera and operetta genre.
     Since 2006, he has regularly participated in domestic and international singing competitions (Olomouc, Eger, Prague, Munich, Berlin), where he has won many award´s.
He has performed at international festivals (Bratislava Music Festival, Musica Nobilis, Prague Spring, Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival). He attended master classes in Baroque music interpretation in Lübeck.
     He has collaborated on world premieres of Jorge Boss and Vladimir Godar. He has made recordings for a number of publishers. In 2012 he released his first profile CD with the song work of Alexander Albrecht - Biographie, and in 2013 his second profile CD with Slovak spiritual creation Ave Maria et alia opera musica sacra. This CD was nominated for the album of the year for 2013 in the Classical Music category in the Radio_Head Awards.
     He is a member of prestigious ensembles: Collegium Vocale Gent (Philippe Herreweghe), Clemencic Consort (René Clemencic), Taverner Consort (Andrew Parrott), Collegium 1704 (Václav Luks) and Cappella Mariana (VojtÄ›ch Semerád).
     In 2013 he made his debut at the National Theater in Brno and the Slovak National Theater in Bratislava in the operas Don Giovanni, Maria di Rohan, La Clemenza di Tito, King Theodor in Venice, Carmen, Salome and Gianni Schicchi. In 2017, he performed at the Antonín DvoĹ™ák Theater in Ostrava in the opera Iphigenia in Aulis, and in 2018 in Gianni Schicchi.

Conductor Zdeněk Klauda is a versatile artistic personality. In addition to his career as a conductor, he devotes himself to leading the orchestra at the National Theater in Prague and is also a programming director of the Jakub Jan Ryba Festival.
     He began his international career in 2008 when he was invited to conduct DvoĹ™ák’s Rusalka at the Salzburg Festival. Since then, he has been regularly invited to prestigious European opera houses (Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Semperoper in Dresden, Vienna State Opera, Paris National Opera). In 2012 he participated in the musical production of JanáÄŤek’s The Cunning Little Vixen and in the following season in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, both for Glyndebourne Festival.
     In 2012 he won the third prize at the Conducting Competition in Romanian Constan?a. As an assistant he worked with conductors Franz Welser-Möst, Kyrill Petrenko, Vladimir Jurowski and Tomáš Netopil.
     He is the founder and chief conductor of his own L’Armonia Terrena Chamber Orchestra, in which he collaborates with absolute Czech top players. For the Nibiru Publishers, he has made two CDs with his orchestra, the first „DECADE“ with soprano Simona Šaturová and with the works of Mozart and MysliveÄŤek, and the second with the recording of the world premiere of J.J.Ryba’s Stabat Mater. In 2019 a new recording of Antonín Rejcha’s Requiem will be published by the same publishing house.
     He is a guest at Czech orchestras (South Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic, Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc, Pardubice Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra), opera houses (National Moravian-Silesian Theater in Ostrava) and major Czech festivals (St. Wenceslas Music Festival 2017). He regularly accompanies top Czech and world singers such as Simona Šaturová, Adam Plachetka and Veronika Dzhioeva.
In January 2018, he debuted as a conductor on the New Opera Moscow scene. In the same year he performed with the National Theater Orchestra in Prague in the world premiere of Augustin ŠenkýĹ™’s oratorio Dies Numini et Principi.

L’Armonia Terrena Chamber Orchestra was founded by conductor ZdenÄ›k Klauda in 2014 on the occasion of the project of a solo album Decade by Simona Šimonová. Since 2016, they have been regular guests of festivals and prestigious organizers, where works by Czech masters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are presented to the audience.
     The L’Armonia Terrena Chamber Orchestra is composed of experienced quartet players led by the concert master Jan Valta, and of young soloists. They play modern instruments, but with regard to the stylistic distinctiveness of the repertoire. Their recording of Ryba’s Latin Stabat Mater won the Diapason Découverte award.

© Studio Svengali, October 2019
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