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Judita Leitait - Requiem

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Balakauskas's Requiem is an intimate chamber work in character and scoring, performed by a mezzo- soprano, choir and chamber orchestra. The composer himself claims to have created an emphatically traditional work, though it would appear that here he upholds the old division between the spheres of musica sacra, with it's cultivation of true-and-tried values, and that of the innovation-seeking musica profana. The musical language of the Requiem, compared with Balakauskas's earlier works, is more restrained, the modal structure based on medieval principles. The very first sounds of the Requiem are representative of it's style: a characteristic succession of parallel fifths on the underlying D in the strings, the functional centre of the whole work, and choir voices moving in the spirit of a twelfth-century Léonin organum. As the work develops, the pedal point moves through a circle of fifths, and returns once again to D in the last part of the Agnus Dei (finalis in Dorian mode). In the Confutatis the composer introduces bitonality, as if to illustrate the text. There are other illustrative sections in the work as well, such as the shout of the trombone in the Tuba mirum. Yet, according to the composer, the relationship here between the music and the text is objective, and the music is as it is supposed to be when speaking the word of God. The soloist and choir parts maintain a comfortable range, and are based on the old psalmodic principles of antiphonal and responsorial singing, with the occasional inclusion of the orchestra, as when instrumental sound blocks play against the choir, as at the beginning of Sanctus. The choir melodies are frequently sung in a homo-rhythmic organum. Meanwhile the solo part, first heard in the Tuba mirum, is given embellishments, in the spirit of Gregorian chant melismata, which give the music it's distinctive elegance. Among the various unexpected connections, there is the beginning of the Rex tremendae, men's voices accompanied by low strings, reminiscent of the composer's reference to yet another source, Georgian hymns. The rhythmic structure of the Requiem is related to the technique of the ars nova mensuralists; according to the composer, the score could even be non-metered. The whole of the composition has no characteristics of culminative development, and the soft contrasts are derived by combining parts of diverse character, once again with an orientation to the aesthetic of the Renaissance and earlier times.

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Judita Leitait - Requiem.

1) Requiem
2) Dies Irae
3) Tuba Mirum
4) Rex Tremendae
5) Recordare
6) Confutatis
7) Domine Jesu
8) Hostias
9) Sanctus
10) Benedictus
11) Lacrymosa
12) Agnus Dei

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Requiem | Judita Leitait