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Classical 101

“Women in Christianity” and Mozart Requiem on Classical Showcase

The Requiem of Mozart by John Eliot Gardiner with Barbara Bonney, Soprano.
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The final concert of the Spring for Music Festival at Carnegie Hall being presented on Classical Showcase, features three works dealing with the theme of women in Christianity.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and soloists, will perform Bruckner’s Ave Maria, the final scene from Poulenc’s opera Dialogues of the Carmalites, and James MacMillan’s Woman of the Apocalypse. The final work on the program will be an unusual performance of Mozart’s Requiem.

Anton Bruckner’s 1861 sacred motet uses the Latin text of the traditional Catholic prayer to the Virgin Mary, Ave Maria. Manfred Honeck directs the orchestra and chorus in this short piece that opens the concert.

It’s followed by an excerpt from a more dramatic work, the final scene from Francis Poulenc’s 1956 opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites. The opera is set in the final days of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution and concerns a group of nuns who are sent to the guillotine for refusing to renounce their vows.

Contemporary Scottish composer James MacMillan’s Woman of the Apocalypse was inspired by a female figure in the Book of Revelation from the Bible. MacMillam said it was “inspired by a range of visual art work on the topic through the ages, principally by Durer, Rubens, Dore, Blake, Marvenko and others.”

A “dramatization” of Mozart’s Requiem with readings by F. Murray Abraham, who played Antonio Salieri in the 1984 film Amadeus, will conclude the concert and the Spring for Music Festival series.

Classical Showcase airs Friday evening at 7 on Classical 101.