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Elis Pehkonen: Russian Requiem


Elis Pehkonen: Russian Requiem
Four Russian Songs*

The Birmingham Festival Choral Society and Orchestra
Jeremy Patterson, Conductor
Christine Bunning, Soprano
Susan Mason, Contralto
Hilary Thomas, Soprano*
Keith Swallow, Piano*

Although Russian Requiem is directly influenced by documented events following the Russian Revolution of 1917, its message of redemption from man's inhumanity to man through the Passion of Jesus Christ has world-wide significance. Dedicated to 'The stillborn child of Gorodietsky', the work is a plea for the peace of reconciliation through the unifying love of Christ.
Pehkonen does not set the entire Missa Pro Defunctis here. Instead, he highlights selected passages with quotations from The Revelation of St. John the Divine, Canto 3 in Hell of Dante's Divine Comedy, Boris Pasternak's Zhivago Poems Gethsemane and Winter Night, as well as comments by Lenin from his Collected Works. The work is scored for soprano and contralto soloists, chorus, oboe, cor anglais, 2 trumpets, timpani, percussion, organ and strings.

Four Russian Folk Songs are elaborate settings of traiditional Russian Folk Melodies. The texts are concerned with the familiar themes of courtship, love and marriage. These Songs were composed in 1979 and are dedicated to Jane Manning who gave the first performance at the Cheltenham International Festival of Music in July 1982.

Russian Requiem
1  Requiem Aeternam  
2  Dies Irae  
3  Offertorium  
4  Agnus Dei  
Four Russian Songs
5  In the Window  
6  The Young Girl was Married Off  
7  Zhaleika  
8  By the Seashore