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Playing at just under an hour, John Harbison’s Requiemwas written over a period of 17 years and completed in 2002 in the wake of 9/11. As the composer observes, it aspires to have ‘a sense of the inexorability of the passage of time, for good and ill, of the commonality of love and loss.’ Harbison sets the traditional words of the Missa pro Defunctis and resists the temptation to introduce other texts as so many composers have done since Britten’s War Requiem. Balancing the ritual and the personal in an expressive and accessible musical language, the work reveals throughout Harbison’s sensitivity to the meaning of the text. The Nashville Symphony Chorus has really grasped the measure of this music and delivers a compelling account, with exemplary diction, bundles of rhythmic energy when needed, and even tone. Together with four excellent soloists, Giancarlo Guerrero and his Nashville forces deliver a first-rate performance of the piece.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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