Norwegian composer marks anniversary of 9/11 attacks

The Washington National Cathedral marks the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks on America with a performance of and extended version of Norwegian composer Ståle Kleiberg’s mass "Requiem for the Victims of Nazi Persecution".

Ståle Kleiberg

The U.S. premiere of Ståle Kleiberg’s Requiem for the Victims of Nazi Persecution will take place at Washington National Cathedral at 7:15 pm on Saturday, September 11, 2004. Michael McCarthy, Director of Music at the Cathedral, will conduct the Cathedral Choirs, Cathedral Chamber Orchestra with soloists Diane Atherton, Barbara Hollinshead and Steven Combs in this work written in memory of those persecuted by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The concert will be introduced by composer, Ståle Kleiberg; Mr. Jan Egeland, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator who will address current global humanitarian challenges. Right Reverend John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington will also lead the introduction of Kleiberg’s work.

Requiem – for victims of Nazi persecution is the main work in a trilogy on the same theme. The trilogy also includes the orchestral work Lamento: Cissi Klein in memoriam and Dopo. The Requiem, with newly written lyrics by the Scottish poet Edwin Morgan, will be the cathedral's main event on the historic day.

Says the composer on the context of the upcoming performance of his work: “Holocaust is the theme for the work regardless of the place it is being performed. When the mass is put in context with the 9/11 attacks, it is because of the themes of the work that deal with grief and injustice – central elements of the anniversary of the terror attacks.”

Washington National Cathedral is the world's 6th largest cathedral and one of the main centres for church music world-wide. After 11 September, it has also become an important arena and voice for peace in the American society. States the Washington National Cathedral in a press statement: “This concert takes place on the third anniversary of the attacks on America, and serves as a reminder that horrors of terrorism transcend any one time or generation. While this particular work carries a specific musical dedication to the millions that perished during the Holocaust, it resonates in our current environment of fear and uncertainty.
The Cathedral is pleased to present this concert in cooperation with the Royal Norwegian Embassy.”

Norwegian composer Kleiberg's Requiem – for victims of Nazi persecution will fit well with the cathedral's peace message. The requiem was written in memory of the victims who died because of their ethnic origin or sexual orientation during the German Nazi regime. It is a central work in Kleiberg's production. In addition to the parts from the Latin Mass, new lyrics by the Scottish poet and play writer Edwin Morgan are included. Kleiberg asked Morgan to write three lyrics shaped as short stories told by a representative from three discriminated groups: Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals.

Composer Ståle Kleiberg was born in Stavanger in 1958. He graduated from the University of Oslo with a degree in musicology and later from the Norwegian State Academy of Music with a diploma degree in composition. In addition Kleiberg has studied in England. His output ranges from chamber music to works for full orchestra; a number of these are the result of commissions from leading orchestras and ensembles. In 1999 Kleiberg was awarded the Fartein Valen Prize, and was composer-in-residence during the Valen Days the following year. Valen’s output ranges from chamber music to works for full orchestra; a number of these are the result of commissions form leading orchestras and ensembles. Kleiberg’s works are often to be found on concert programmes. Among his works for full orchestra is the symphony “Klokkeskjæret” (The Bell Reef), commissioned by the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Kleiberg has also completed a number of major works commissioned by the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, and was their composer in residence for the 2000/2001 season. Three of his works that were performed during that season have been recorded on a portrait CD with Kleiberg’s orchestral music, An other portrait CD features five of his chamber works, and he is also represented a t other recordings with single pieces.

Many of Kleiberg’s works have a literary source. Poetic images often give rise to musical associations, and these imagined sounds and sound-textures form the basis of the inspiration for the composer’s work. One excellent example of theis is the houf-long “Rosevinduet” (“The Rose Window”) for narrator and chamber orchestra, commissioned by the Olavsfestdagene in Trondheim in 1992, and later released on CD.

More info on the Washington National Cathedral’s web-site.

Tickets are $25 and $10 and can be purchased online or by phone (202)537-5757.

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