The Nashville Symphony and Chorus will perform a piece this weekend that was completed in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
American composer John Harbison began writing Requiem in 1985, but it was the events of 9/11 that compelled him to finish the project 16 years later, according to a press release from the Nashville Symphony.
Harbison is known for his many symphonies, concertos, operas, chamber music, art songs and sacred choral music. He has served on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1969.
While some of his work is marked by innovation, Requiem honors tradition. A critique in The New York Times in 2003 said, “No radical deconstruction for this composer. The placement of Latin syllables honors the literal meaning of words; they want to be understood.”
The work has rarely been performed since its 2003 debut.
The performance at the Schermerhorn in Nashville will be recorded for future worldwide release on Naxos. Tucker Biddlecome, who will officially become director of the chorus in August, has spent the past year working with the all-volunteer ensemble to get ready for this weekend.
“This is an important work, reflective of a critical time in our history, and we are honored to be documenting it for posterity,” Biddlecombe said. “It has all the elements of the great pieces of music we all love, from Brahms-like fugues coupled with complicated and exciting harmonies, to the Dies Irae movement that hearkens to the great music of Verdi and Mozart describing the final judgement day.”
The concert will feature four vocal soloists: soprano Jessica Rivera, mezzo-soprano Michaela Martens, tenor Nicholas Phan and baritone Kelly Markgraf.
Performances will be at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the concert, which also includes Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1, start at only $20 when using the promotional code SPRING. Tickets are available at NashvilleSymphony.org, via phone at 615.687.6400 and at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Box Office: 1 Symphony Place, Nashville, TN 37201.