Requiem wraps-up year of musical celebrations

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Requiem wraps-up year of musical celebrations

This year is the 250th anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birth and the global celebrations are almost at an end. It is thus an appropriate time to celebrate the finale of the anniversary with a performance of Mozart’s Requiem. Concentus Musicus Wien, the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and four soloists will perform Mozart’s Requiem and Vesperae di Dominicus with Nikolaus Harnoncourt at Seoul Arts Center this Saturday.
The Seoul performance is the last stop of an Asian tour by Harnoncourt, the orchestra and the choir. They will perform Mozart’s Requiem again in Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, on Dec. 5, the date of his death. Mozart was born on Jan. 27, 1756, and died at five minutes to 1 a.m. on Dec. 5, 1791.
The Salzburg Mozart Year 2006 began, in Salzburg, on Jan. 27, Mozart’s birthday, with a speech by Harnoncourt, who also performed Mozart’s Symphony in G minor, KV 550, with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Born in Berlin, the Austrian conductor Harnoncourt spent his childhood and youth in Graz. He studied cello at the Vienna Academy of Music and joined the Viennese Symphony Orchestra as a cellist in 1952.
A year later, he founded the Concentus Musicus Wien ensemble together with his wife Alice, to provide a forum for his work with period instruments and the performance traditions of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Harnoncourt collected historical instruments and, in addition to his performing and conducting activities, devoted his time to the performance of early music. He is one of the pioneers in performing early music with period instruments. His career as a conductor of both orchestral works and opera covers Viennese Classicism, the Romantic repertoire and works from the 20th century. He was able to reach millions of classical music fans through performances like the New Year’s concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
This Saturday, Mozart’s Requiem will be performed, again, with period instruments. Mozart died leaving his Requiem incomplete, especially the final passages. Many scholars and conductors including Mozart’s pupil, Franz Xaver Sussmayr, and Mozart’s fellow composer Franz Beyer have made efforts to complete the work based on the composer’s notes. Harnoncourt will perform Beyer’s version.
The four soloists are soprano Julia Kleiter, mezzo soprano Bernarda Fink, tenor Werner Gura, and basso Ruben Drole.


The performance starts at 8 p.m. at Seoul Arts Center, which can be reached Nambu Bus Terminal station on line No. 3, exit No. 5. Ticket prices are 60,000 won ($62) to 300,000 won.


by Limb Jae-un
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