Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Robin Ticciati, conductor
Lang | Pärt | Stravinsky | Mahler
The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Robin Ticciati conducting concludes the Stravinsky series at the Musikfest Berlin. It will perform the “Requiem Canticles”, the music that accompanied Stravinsky’s own funeral, and which “he knew he was writing for himself”.
Thousands lined the canals when Igor Stravinsky’s coffin passed in a funeral gondola on 15 April 1971, taken first to the church of San Giovanni e Paolo, then later to the island cemetery of San Michele in Venice. The funeral service in the majestic brick church, burial site for many Doges, was performed by the Orthodox Archimandrite. A requiem by Alessandro Scarlatti and canzonas by Andrea Gabrieli, as well as Stravinsky’s own “Requiem Canticles” could be heard during the service. He had composed the “Canticles” five years earlier as a commission in memory of patron of education Helen Buchanan Seeger, but “both we and he knew he was writing them for himself” (Vera Stravinsky). He selected six excerpts from the Latin Requiem Mass, framing the vocal movement with an orchestral prelude, interlude, and postlude, the composition’s points of convergence. The “Canticles” are “characterised by ritual in an old, atavistic manner”, an old friend of the composer remarked. Robin Ticciati emphasises the peculiar spirituality, which renounces all superficiality and sentimentality, by juxtaposing it with works by composers whose religiosity also could be restricted to denominational confines, and for whom music represented the actual bridge to the divine.