Frank Zielhorst conductor
Elizabeth Karani soprano
Claire Barnett-Jones mezzo-soprano
Konu Kim tenor
David Ireland bass
Nottingham Harmonic Choir
Sibelius Symphony No. 4
After completing his Fourth Symphony in 1911, Sibelius wrote in his diary that “it calls for much courage to look at life straight in the eye.” Hearing this stark antidote to the opulent scores of his contemporaries, Mahler and Richard Strauss, reminds us that Sibelius’s symphony was born out of personal crisis. Diagnosis and treatment for throat cancer had led him to search deeply within himself, evident throughout this glowering, inscrutable soundscape. But it’s also richly rewarding, with glimpses of light and, a steely vision of endurance.
Mozart’s Requiem also inhabits dark musical territory. Written just weeks before his death, in response to a commission from an unknown patron, the Requiem was for many years shrouded in mystery and Mozart’s untimely end meant much of the work had to be finished by his pupil Franz Süssmayr. What we do know is that the Requiem remains one of the most compelling choral experiences, Mozart’s sublimely expressive lines matched by gripping orchestral urgency.