Jaap van Zweden / Netherlands Radio Philharmonic

War Requiem Op. 66

Price: € 19.95
Format: SACD hybrid
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917238822
Catnr: CC 72388
Release date: 17 April 2012
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Label
Challenge Classics
UPC
0608917238822
Catalogue number
CC 72388
Release date
17 April 2012

"impressive recording"

BBC Music Magazine, 01-9-2012
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
Press
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NL
DE

About the album

The cathedral in Coventry was almost entirely destroyed during a German air raid in 1940, with only the outer walls, bell tower and tomb of the first bishop remaining intact. These were preserved as a memorial. In the 1950s, the decision was made to incorporate the ruins in a new building. The first stone was laid by Queen Elizabeth II in 1956. and the new cathedral opened on May 25, 1962. Five days later, it was musically inaugurated with Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, in a performance broadcast live by the BBC.

At the time, Britten was probably the only British composer able to strike a collective chord with his countrymen – even though in his operas, he always sided with eccentrics and outcasts. As a pacifist and homosexual, he had been personally familiar with the conflict between the individual and establishment since the 1930s. Yet Britten was not a political activist, for he was decidedly a member of a generation that held its peace when confronted with the dark aspects of community, family or the military. Artistically, however, Britten was an activist, as witness his antithetical heroes: Peter Grimes, Albert Herring, Billy Bud and Owen Wingrave. At times, his political message was so encoded that it seemed like a message in a bottle for a better future.

Britten's musical protest to war is very profound and impressive and a memorable concert of this piece took place in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in May 2011. This was recorded on Challenge Classics with Jaap van Zweden and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. A performance of world class!

Een muzikaal protest
In deze memorabele uitvoering leidt dirigent Jaap van Zweden het orkest, de solisten en de twee koren tot grote hoogte. Dit prachtige requiem is een van de indrukwekkendste klassieke werken uit de 20ste eeuw. “Van Zweden weet vanaf het begin de dreigende sfeer moeiteloos op te bouwen en een sublieme live uitvoering neer te zetten. Deze uitvoering kan zich absoluut meten met de opname die Britten in 1963 van het War Requiem maakte.” Wil Zenhorst, Mania Klassiek, juni 2012.

Benjamin Britten schreef het War Requiem voor de inwijding van de nieuwe kathedraal van Coventry op 30 mei 1962. De veertiende-eeuwse kathedraal werd in 1940 bijna volledig verwoest tijdens een Duitse luchtaanval. Alleen de buitenste muren, de klokkentoren en de tombe van de eerste bisschop, bleven gespaard. In de jaren '50 werd besloten om de ruïnes op te nemen in een nieuw gebouw, waarvan de eerste steen in 1956 werd gelegd door Koningin Elizabeth.

Britten koos voor een traditionele Latijnse dodenmis, vertolkt door koor en sopraansolist. Af en toe doven de liturgische klanken en gaat de aandacht uit naar de mannelijke solisten. Zij verbeelden negen oorlogsgedichten van Wilfred Owen, een militair die in november 1918 sneuvelde in de loopgraven van Frankrijk, een week voor de wapenstilstand. Britten, overtuigend pacifist, wilde de nutteloosheid van oorlog en de hypocrisie van de kerk in tijden van oorlog in het stuk verwerken.

In de jaren vijftig van de vorige eeuw was Britten waarschijnlijk de enige Britse componist die een groot deel van zijn landgenoten wist aan te spreken. En dat terwijl hij in zijn opera’s vaak de kant koos van de excentrieken en de buitenstaanders. Als atheïst en homosexueel was hij persoonlijk betrokken geraakt bij het conflict tussen het individu en de gevestigde orde sinds de jaren dertig. Toch was Britten geen politiek activist. Integendeel, hij behoorde tot een generatie die bewust koos voor het bewaren van de vrede in tijden van oorlog en confrontatie met de donkere kanten van de samenleving. Maar als kunstenaar was hij wel degelijk een activist. Bij tijd en wijle verstopte hij zijn politieke boodschap op zo'n manier in zijn muziek, dat het leek op een briefje in een fles met de hoop op een betere toekomst. Zijn War Requiem is hier een goed voorbeeld van: het stuk is diepgaand en indrukwekkend en kan gezien worden als een muzikaal protest tegen oorlog.

Jaap van Zwedens eindringliche Deutung von Brittens „War Requiem“

Am 30. Mai 2012 jährt sich zum 50. Mal die Uraufführung von Brittens Musikprotest gegen den Krieg. Ein denkwürdiges Konzert dieses Werkes fand unter der Leitung von Jaap van Zweden im Mai 2011 im niederländischen Utrecht statt, welches nun als Live-Mitschnitt als SACD vorliegt. Eine Aufführung von Weltklasse!

Artist(s)

Born in Amsterdam in 1960, Jaap Van Zweden began his musical career as a violinist, becoming at nineteen the youngest ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1997, van Zweden made his decision to conduct full time, played his last concert as a violinist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and was named the chief conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra where he remained until 2003. In 2000, he added the music directorship of the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague to his credits, a post he held until 2005.
Jaap van Zweden began his third season as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in September 2010. His commitment to the orchestra was recently extended through the 2015-2016 season. Under his direction, the orchestra is enhancing its programming and community outreach, continuing to champion new composers, and raising its national profile with an annual residency in Vail, CO and a 2011 appearance at Carnegie Hall in the inaugural Spring for Music Festival. Concurrently with his post in Dallas, van Zweden’s other titled positions include chief conductor and artistic director of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (2005-2012), and chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra of Belgium (2008-2012).

Under van Zweden’s leadership, the DSO has established an ongoing residency at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival through the summer of 2012, and debuted five world premiere works over two seasons as part of the DSO’s Texas Instruments Classical Series. Throughout the past seasons, the orchestra, under van Zweden's leadership, has received lavish praise from notable media including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Musical America, The Financial Times, BBC Music Magazine, The Dallas Morning News and many others. In a December 2009 article in The LA Times, Mark Swed named van Zweden one of the”Faces to Watch“ in 2010, noting van Zweden “knows how to generate tense, tactile excitement in all kinds of music.”

Van Zweden has also become a highly sought-after guest artist since the DSO introduced him to US audiences in 2007. During the 2010-2011 season, van Zweden debuts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, San Paulo Symphony, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra and the Monte Carlo Philharmonic. He makes his much-anticipated fourth guest appearance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and returns to guest conduct with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

He also has guested with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National du Capital de Toulouse, Munich Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Tokyo Philharmonic, among others.


The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra gave its first concert on 7 October 1945, led by its founder and ‘first conductor‘ Albert van Raalte, on Radio “Herrijzend Nederland”. Initially the orchestra spent most of its time in studios working on a large number of recordings for the public broadcasting system. The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic featured prominently in the Saturday Matinee as soon as the series started in 1961, and has continued to give frequent live performances ever since. The celebrated Saturday Matinee has hosted many legendary concerts. Illustrious soloists such as Kathleen Ferrier, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Clara Haskil and Jean-Pierre Rampal have shared the stage with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2004, the three classical orchestral formations of the broadcasting 15 system were transformed into two: the present Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic. In 2006, these two orchestras, the Netherlands Radio Choir and the Metropole Orchestra joined the Dutch public broadcasting organisation NPO.

The Radio Philharmonic Orchestra has been conducted by great names such as Bernard Haitink, Jean Fournet, Hans Vonk, Sergiu Comissiona and Edo de Waart. Jaap van Zweden was named its chief conductor in September 2005. The orchestra has also worked with numerous famed guest conductors such as Leopold Stokowski, Kirill Kondrashin, Antál Dorati, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur and Valery Gergiev. Soon after its founding, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic found itself foremost in Dutch musical life in the number of performances and the diversity of its repertoire, with a predilection for Dutch and contemporary works in its programming. It has honed another facet of its striking profile with a great many opera concertante performances. The orchestra has an extensive discography, ranging from legendary LPs recorded in the 1970s under such conductors as Leopold Stokowski and Antal Doráti to Jean Fournet’s much-lauded renderings of French repertoire. Under Edo de Waart, not only did it release its legendary Wagner interpretations, but also the complete orchestral works of Rachmaninov. CDs with work by contemporary composers such as Jonathan Harvey, Klas Torstensson, Jan van Vlijmen and Stravinsky have garnered prizes and much acclaim.

Composer(s)

Press

impressive recording
BBC Music Magazine, 01-9-2012

There is so much to admire in this recording
Music Web International, 01-7-2012

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