Mozart Requiem - Dom Perignon Champagne
My first concert as Principal Conductor of the great Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano "Giuseppe Verdi," or simply laVerdi, is a program that will forever resonate in my heart and soul,not only because I begin my tenure with Mozart's Requiem, a work I have conducted also on the grounds of Auschwitz for the BBC Holocaust Memorial Film in 2007, but it was during my Amadeus program in October 2010 with the Orchestre National de Pays de la Loire when my mother passed away at the age of 68. Rehearsing the Requiem on the day she died gave me the feeling my mother would always be with me in spirit, especially when I hear or perform this masterpiece. Conducting Mozart's Requiem is a challenge, like any Oratorio, but more so for the reason that it anticipates the Requiem of Verdi, out revolutionizes Beethoven's Missa Solmenis, and remains in a class by itself, beyond the Requiems of Brahms, Fauré or Ligeti. Mozart was one of the greatest opera composers, and therefore, it must contain the emotional contrasts and lyrical appeal one finds in the great dramas for the stage. One must communicate in physical form a passionate interpretation, the flammis acribus addictis in the Confutatis must burn, the angelic voca me must be felt as a prayer of mercy. The eternal rest that Mozart evokes in his Lacrimosa, whereupon he himself died after the first Homo Reus, is the reminder of all those emotions I felt upon learning of my mother's death. Conducting it is a challenge, not for all the forces on stage, but for the force of emotions felt within.
"Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!" So said Dom Perignon, in 1688, at the moment he discovered champagne. He not only discovered the bubbly that everyone drinks during the holiday season and New Years, but he accidentally gave birth to a process that would forever change the way grapes would be drunk. This is caused by the small drops of liquid released by escaping carbon dioxide or carbonic gas that is a natural consequence of the double fermentation process unique to the champagne process. The good monk stored his pinot noir grape juice in bottles, not casks. He even added a little sugar for good measure. Actually, he did all he could to reduce the bubbles. But the result was more than he expected. Stars! The child within was pleased. And an industry was born. And does not the child in all of us deserve our stars, especially during the holidays?