Often times groups and organizations consider themselves a family who morn together in times of sadness and rejoice as one in times of celebration.
Such is the case for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra wheo not only have a married couple in the orchestra; but welcomed another member of the family to the stage for their performance January 25 and 26.
Currently a student at the Julliard School of Music in New York City, Buffalo native Derek Cone took the stage to open the program with the “Concerto in C Major for Cello and Orchestra, H Vllb:1” by Franz Joseph Haydn. Playing since he was only eight years old, Derek is not just a technical player, but a very passionate one as well.
Considered to be the father of the symphony, Haydn composed the piece in the latter part of the eighteenth century but after its initial debut, the work was lost. But in 1961 the work was discovered at the Prague National Museum.
Cone played an excerpt from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Third Suite for an encore.
After the intermission the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, mezzo sopranos Mary Hangley and Lynn Bottoms, tenor Gene Stenger, and bass James Wright joined the BPO and Joann Falletta on stage for a performance of the “Requiem in D minor, K. 626” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as the Orchestra continues their annual celebration of Mozart.
Very ill and near death, Mozart was feverishly trying to complete his operas “The Magic Flute” and “La Clemenza” when a masked stranger knocked on the door. He offered Mozart a large amount of money to commission a Requiem. In need of funds, Mozart accepted the deal including the proviso that he never learn the identity of the generous benefactor.
Unable to write the compositions, he sang the parts to confidante Antonio Salieri who then put it on manuscript paper. Mozart only got as far as “Lacrimosa” – the final segment of the third movement before he died.
Taking his cue from all the notes and conversations he had with Mozart, Salieri completed the work, repeating the first movement to complete the piece.
Mozart’s “Requiem” is one of only three such pieces ever composed; Johannes Brahms and Giuseppe Verdi were the other two.
Performed in its original Latin, the English translation was shown on the video screen.
Considering the work a Requiem for his own death. Mozart took inspiration from the Catholic Mass for the Dead and thus created a dark and somber composition that features the lower instruments of the orchestra.
The BPO, Chorus, and soloists did a masterful job in presenting the work; one that solicited several callbacks for bows and extended applause by the audience.