Requiem in Stone was broadcast on WWFM, The Classical Network, on April 18, 2014. Click below to listen to the entire broadcast, which includes an exclusive interview with conductor Andrew Megill.
Guest Conductor Andrew Megill (Associate Professor at Westminster Choir College, Chef de choeur for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Director of the Masterwork Chorus) led the MCE in a performance of Heinrich Schütz’s celebrated Musikalische Exequien with period instrument accompaniment (Dongsok Shin, positive organ; Anne Trout, violone; Loretta O’Sullivan, cello; and Dan Swenberg, theorbo). Two new pieces inspired by this Baroque masterwork by rising star Caleb Burhans, “Prepare for Death and Follow Me” and “Life is Nothing” completed the program, tying the ancient composition to the New York City of today.
Saturday, Mar 15, 2014, 8pm
German Evangelical Church of St. Paul’s
315 West 22nd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenue)
New York City
Requiem in Stone is named after Burhans’ new work, which was produced in collaboration with members of the MCE. The text of Requiem in Stone comes from the epitaphs found on tombstones in historical New York City graveyards.
Similarly, Schütz’s striking Musikalische Exequien features biblical passages that were inscribed on the coffin of the 17th century German prince Heinrich Posthumus Reuss. This exquisite burial music was commissioned for the prince’s funeral, which took place during the devastation of the Thirty Years War. Scored for ten vocal parts, six viols and continuo, Musikalische Exequien will be performed by the MCE with period instrument accompaniment and with the movements of Caleb Burhans’ work interspersed.
“Musikalische Exequien is the most important piece of German choral music before Bach. One of the reasons people keep coming back to it is because of its incredible pairing of music and text. Even if you don’t speak German, you can’t help but understand the piece on a profound level. Written at a time when death was everywhere, it so beautifully illustrates what it means to be human,” said Andrew Megill.
A specialist in Baroque repertoire, Megill will also lead the choir in a performance of three motets by Johann Hermann Schein. As colleagues during the early Baroque period, both Schein and Schütz bear the imprint of Italian musical ideas in their German liturgical music.
Requiem in Stone is the 32nd piece commissioned by the MCE and the ensemble’s first collaboration with Mr. Burhans. Maestro Megill and Caleb Burhans recently collaborated on the composer’s critically-acclaimed debut studio album Evensong.
Requiem in Stone was made possible in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.