[Daily article] July 16: Requiem (Reger)

The Requiem by Max Reger is a late Romantic setting of Friedrich
Hebbel’s poem “Requiem” for alto or baritone solo, chorus and orchestra.
The text begins with a plea not to forget the dead. Composed in 1915,
Reger dedicated it “to the memory of the German heroes” who died in the
World War. He had composed Requiem settings before: in 1912 a motet for
male chorus, set to the same poem, and in 1914 an unfinished setting of
the Latin Requiem, in memory of victims of the war. The 1915 Requiem,
Reger’s last completed work for chorus and orchestra, was published by
N. Simrock in 1916, after the composer’s death. It was paired with
another choral composition, Der Einsiedler (The Hermit), set to a poem
by Joseph von Eichendorff, titled Zwei Gesänge für gemischten Chor mit
Orchester (Two songs for mixed chorus with orchestra), Op. 144. Both
works were first performed in Heidelberg on 16 July 1916 as part of a
memorial concert for Reger, conducted by Philipp Wolfrum. Reger thought
that The Hermit and the Requiem were “among the most beautiful things”
he had ever written.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail made its
premiere, after which Emperor Joseph II anecdotally made the comment
that it had “too many notes”.


David Farragut became the first person to be promoted to the
rank of rear admiral in the United States Navy.


Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie signed the nation’s first
constitution, the first time in history that an absolute ruler
voluntarily sought to share sovereignty with his subjects.


A 7.8 MS earthquake struck the densely populated Philippine
island of Luzon, killing an estimated 1,621 people.


Sixteen infants in Gansu Province, China, were diagnosed with
kidney stones due to tainted milk powder; overall 300,000 infants were

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

1. A non-Jewish person.
2. (grammar) A noun derived from a proper noun which denotes something
belonging to or coming from a particular city, nation, or country.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  I am impressed by the great limitations of the human mind. How
quick are we to learn, that is, to imitate what others have done or
thought before. And how slow to understand, that is, to see the deeper
connections. Slowest of all, however, are we in inventing new
connections or even in applying old ideas in a new field.  
–Frits Zernike

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