The Latvian Radio Choir and the Sinfonietta Rīga orchestra will perform Requiem by the Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian. The concert will take place on March 1 at the Church of St John in Rīga, and it will be conducted by Sigvards Kļava. The composer will honour the performance by attending the concert.
The programme will also feature music by a composer who inspired Mansurian - the Armenian priest, founder of modern Armenian classical music and composer Soghomon Soghomonian, also known as Komitas.
Mansurian (b 1939) is the best known Armenian composer in the world, and he insists that spiritual traditions are sustainable and that transcendental words of peace can be awakened in a new massage. That is confirmed by his 2011 grief mass, in which dramatic dimensions are melded with pure silence and uniquely synthesised layers of Armenian and Western European culture. The requiem is dedicated to the victims of the Armenian genocide that took place between 1915 and 1917, and its origins can be found in the deeply personal memories of Mansurian. He lost relatives during the genocide, and the harsh pages of Armenian history are recorded in the history of the composer's family.
Mansurian needed enormous creative resources to enliven classical Latin liturgical texts into a contemporary sound. Over the course of a decade, the composer worked on the opus several times, but he always put it aside. Then the RIAS Chamber Choir in Berlin and the Munich Chamber Orchestra commissioned the opus, and that allowed Mansurian to find the true key to the music of the requiem, as found in the harmonic architectonic structure of choir and orchestra. The basic mood of the composition is meditative. It is rooted in the traditional music of Armenia, with motifs that are 200 years old and concepts that can vividly and convincingly reveal the national colours of Armenians through the word of sound. Requiem was premiered in 2011 at the Berlin Philharmonic, featuring the Berlin Chamber Choir and the Munich Chamber Orchestra under the baton of conductor Alexander Liebreich.
Armenian cultural traditions are centuries old, but this is the only Armenian requiem that uniquely brings together traditional Latin texts and traditional Armenian music. In the autumn of 2017, it was nominated for a Grammy in the categories "Best Contemporary Music Composition" and "Best Choral Performance." In 2018, Requiem received the International Classical Music Award in the category of modern music.
The performance of Tigran Mansurian's Requiem is supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia.