Though he will not officially take the reins of the world-renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra until 2027, the brilliant Klaus Mäkelä is already making his mark on Amsterdam's gold-standard ensemble with impeccably chosen blockbuster programs like this one: Sibelius's deeply expressive Fourth Symphony, followed by Mozart's eternally haunting Requiem—with top vocalists Sabine Devieilhe, Sasha Cooke, Julian Prégardien, and Benjamin Appl joining the Nederlands Kamerkoor!
Probing and tormented, Sibelius's gorgeous Symphony No. 4 has been explained as the reflection of various concerns: prewar terror in 1911 Europe, the composer's fear of a recurrence of cancer, and the contemporary prevalence of psychoanalysis (Sibelius himself called his Fourth a "psychological symphony.") Whatever the case may be, the work is a striking, introspective masterpiece, one of his most haunting achievements—nearly as haunting as Mozart's Requiem, which makes up the second half of the program. Famously unfinished at Mozart's death, the Requiem—completed by Franz Xaver Süssmayr—is nevertheless considered one of the Salzburg-born genius's finest achievements. Over two centuries later, it is riveting from the first inquisitive notes of the Introitus to the inexorable fury of the Dies Irae, the heart-stopping beauty of the Lacrimosa, and the piercing finality of the Lux aeterna.
Sabine Devieilhe appears courtesy of Erato/Warner Classics.
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan Me...