Rehnqvist's Requiem, not a piece that set out to tug at the heartstrings, ranged in its mood from bleak austerity to something much more raw and elemental. Its power was as much dramatic as emotional, and derived in part from the way she deployed her resources, with two sopranos, Helena Ek and Maria Keohane, singing from opposite sides of the stage, a device mirrored in the orchestra, with the two trumpets playing antiphonally from either side.
...A compelling piece with real depth.
Karin Rehnqvist's unforgiving Requiem Aeternam was given its premiere on Saturday night by Olari Elts and an immaculate SCO. Setting Swedish poetry and Latin text for two sopranos - the excellent, fluting Helena Ek and Maria Keohane - chorus and orchestra, infused with folk hints that wouldn't sound out of place in a Beowulfian mead hall, Rehnqvist's Requiem cries out desperately for a response from a God who seems starkly, coldly unforthcoming.
Rehnqvist's forte is vocal music and for this celebration of the living, as well as the dead, she chose a challenging mix of Swedish and Latin texts.
These were superbly sung by the SCO Chorus and the sopranos Helena Ek and Maria Keohane, who really did sound like angels as they glided up to high notes with crystal clarity. There was a haunting folk-like quality to much of the sparsely, but eloquently set, music – some of the most moving sections were unaccompanied or simply underscored by an alto flute and harp.
By far the most successful work in the repertoire was 'Requiem aeternam' (2008) by Swedish composer Rehnqvist featuring the chorus of the SCO and two soprano soloists, Helena Ek and Maria Keohane.
... I really hope that this piece has further concerts in the international scene and throughout Europe - it deserves the attention.
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