Berlioz’s Tristia for choir and orchestra comprises three short pieces from different periods of composition, linked to the theme of death, and Berlioz’s love of Shakespeare.

Into the Music begins at 18:30, with Kari Olene Oma Rønnes.

Méditation Religieuse (Religious Meditation) from 1831 is based on a poem by Thomas Moore. The text of La Mort d’Ophélie (Ophelia’s death) is a ballade by Ernest Legouvé, and was composed as a song with piano accompaniment in 1842. Marche funèbre pour la dernière scène d’Hamlet (the funeral march for the final scene in Hamlet) was composed in 1844. With its wordless choir, big percussion and sweeping melodies, it is both magnificent and theatrical.

Ravel composed the piano version of Le Tombeau de Couperin in 1917 and subsequently orchestrated four of the the six movements. The French Baroque’s “tombeau” (tomb) was a composition that celebrated a dearly departed relation. Ravel’s starting point was a tribute to the French Baroque period, François Couperin and the 1700s, but also became a tribute to those who fell during the First World War – each movement is dedicated to a friend who died in the war. The suite starts with a preludium that sets the tone for the piece. Then comes a jovial and energetic forlane. The minuette has a more melancholic character, and the work ends with an outgoing Rigaudon.

Faurés Requiem was composed in 1887. His tonal language often consists of dense chords and dances, and in this work the composer really enters the dark world of sounds. The composer himself said, “People have said that my Requiem does not express the horror of death; some have called it a “cradle of death”. But that’s how I perceive death: like a happy redemption, an aspiration to the after-life happiness, rather than a dreadful experience. ”

The work is peaceful, characterized by serenity. Compared to large scale masterpieces by Verdi, Brahms and Berlioz, Fauré’s version is more careful and modest, but it is this quality of understatement that contributes to the universe’s appeal and ethereal beauty.

Christian Vasquez, conductor
Elizabeth Watts, soprano
André Morsch, baritone
Medvirkende: Stavanger Symphony Choir

Berlioz: Tristia
Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin
Fauré: Requiem (orig. version)