Review: Requiem For My Friend
3.5 / 5 Stars
I was drawn to this piece because of my love of dark music. Yes, you name it and I probably own it. From the classical such as Orff's "Carmina Burana" and Mozart's own Requiem, to the film classics such as The Omen and the more recent Batman series (Elfman only, please). This piece is more similar to Mozart than any of the others. Preisner has composed for many films in Poland, and has done a good chunk of stateside work as well, including, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Damage, When a Man Loves a Woman, The Secret Garden, and Fairytale: A True Story. As the liner notes state, "Requiem for my Friend" is his first large work written specifically for recording and live performance. Encore, encore! (Okay, you need to know more first…)
Track 8 ("Lacrimosa") begins with some subtle choral piece, but later explodes into a raging despair with full organ and chorus. As my readers may know, I yearn for music that "sneaks up" on the listener and this piece accomplishes that wonderfully.
The "double take" can be disconcerting or refreshing when listening to a new recording. I'll explain. I was listening to this requiem, when, quite suddenly, I notice the presence of what sounds like…. French jazz saxophone. I check, and it's the same CD. On track 10 ("Meeting"), Preisner begins part 2 of his piece, which he calls, "Life". It is a new section and a new approach to one symphony. Here he begins to alternate between the old choral classical style and use of the saxophone. It is also hear that the music begins to appear as more of a soundtrack and less of a requiem. The feel of the piece (I can't define "feel" to you, but I know it when I hear it…. see the Supreme Court for further details) remains the same, however, as Preisner keeps the tone melancholy and inspirational. You can almost imagine the slow motion shot potential, the images of redemption and pain. Man, this is just fantastic stuff. It remains so from track 1 to the last track.
Track 15 ("Veni et vidi") is as powerful and effective as any I have heard. It uses one of my favorite devices (which is, granted, one reason I have become so enamoured with this piece), the full choral thrust. The voices come mercilessly from the recording, forcing the music forward in what can best be described as an organized frenzy.
At the end of the piece, Mr. Preisner takes us back to the very beginning, tying up all loose ends, and finishing with a masterstroke. As I said before, Encore!!!
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