Requiem Aeternam (after Victoria)

Program: Music by Stephen Hough. This piece of music, composed by Stephen Hough for the exhibition The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture, 1600–1700, is based on the 1605 Requiem by the great Spanish composer Tomás Luís de Victoria. Stephen Hough recast and reworked this requiem, reimagining its six voices for a string sextet. He selected five sections to make five movements: the fourth movement (Versa est) is a simple transcription with nothing altered; the first movement (Tadeat animum) takes the four-part original and floats it around the six instruments in antiphonal waves; the second movement (Kyrie eleison) keeps all the notes the same but changes their register–removing the linear mosaic of the vocal lines and making them soar and plunge in jagged, overlapping intervals. The third (Graduale) movement is more radically altered. The final, longest movement (Libera me) reproduces the polyphonic sections fairly faithfully, but takes the original plainsong interludes as if themes for variations in various modern styles.
Released: February 23, 2010