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Verdi's Requiem | Gravesham Choral Society

Saturday April 21, 2018 at 19:30
Rochester Cathedral, Rochester
£15, full time students £5
Phone for tickets: 01474 816684
Other Sources: members of the choir
Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Messa da Requiem - Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi composed his Requiem in memory of Alessandro Manzoni, a poet and novelist he much admired. It is one of the most epic settings of the Latin Mass for the Dead, calling for four soloists, double chorus, orchestra, and off-stage trumpets.

When Rossini died in 1868, Verdi suggested that a number of Italian composers might collaborate on a Requiem in Rossini's honour and began by submitting the Libera me. Although 13 composers contributed, the project was abandoned just nine days before the planned performance. Much frustrated by this, Verdi continued to toy with the Libera me, and on hearing of Manzoni's death, resolved to complete the entire Requiem himself.

It was premiered under the composer's direction on the first anniversary of Manzoni's death on 22 May 1874 in Milan's San Marco church with a chorus of 50 and orchestra of 100. Repeated three days later at La Scala opera house it won immediate success except in Britain where the new Royal Albert Hall could not be filled for such an ostensibly Catholic occasion. It disappeared later from the standard choral repertoire but was revived in the 1930s. Today, this unique masterpiece is universally admired by performers and audiences alike and is a firm favourite with many choral societies.

Verdi uses vigorous rhythms, sublime melodies, and dramatic vocal and orchestral effects to express the emotions engendered by the text. To the deep distress of his wife he was an agnostic and the style of the work is unsurprisingly operatic rather than religious.

Rochester Cathedral
The Precinct

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