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Thread: Cannot identify this beautiful classical piece

  1. #1
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    Default Cannot identify this beautiful classical piece

    Hi everybody,

    A tune has been going through my mind and I cannot identify what classical work it is from. My impression was that it is a movement from a French Romantic composer's Requiem, but after leafing through Faure's and Saint-Saens', I still could not identify it.

    I just created a very crude computer rendition of it, so you get a gist of what the tune sounds like, here it is.

    One more hint, I'm pretty positive that the main phrase of this movement is first played softly only with the orchestra, then in an orchestral tutti, and finally, if I'm not mistaken, the choir comes in too.

    Many thanks for any help in identifying it!
    Last edited by Krummhorn; Jun-16-2010 at 05:17. Reason: link broken (was redirecting to a promo ad, so the link has been disabled by admins.

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    Senior Member Falstaft's Avatar
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    Hi longtalker. Could you try posting the sound file again? The link seems to be broken right now.

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    I don't see a sound file, but when you mentioned a Romantic French Requiem the first thing that popped into my head was the Berlioz Requiem.

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    Here is the file attached. I too thought of Berlioz's Requiem, but after quickly listening through some snippets of all the movements, I did not hear it there!

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    Senior Member Falstaft's Avatar
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    Hi longtalker. Having trawled through as many French requiems as I could find (and hunting through various melodic-recognition resources) I still can't figure out what this tune is. Two things.

    1) Opening is very reminiscent of the flute melody from the overture to Verdi's Forza del Destino. I don't think the tune recurs in the opera, but there is a certain Verdian quality to its phrasing. Pretty sure it's not some passage I'm not aware of in his Requiem, but are there other pieces of choral/liturgical music outside of his operatic output that may be worth chasing.

    2) The surprise B-natural that follows Db-C is the most striking part of this melody to my ears, and suggests someone working in a slightly flexible idiom. Poulenc wrote a lot of choral music with twists like this, are you familiar with any of his output?

    Sorry I couldn't help more. If I can think of anything more, I'll let you know.

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    Hi Falstaft,

    Many thanks for your reply. You are right that it is probably not from Verdi's Requiem, although it is possible it might be from another of his works. I haven't listened to much Poulenc, so not sure this could be him, but now that we've eliminated so many of the "favourite" contenders (I could have sworn this was from a French Requiem!), all options are open... Too bad Musipedia isn't that mature yet to tell us what it is!

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    dammit, i know i know this one!

    definitely not in the Verdi requiem. i thought it might be in Berlioz's, but skimmed through fairly thoroughly and didn't find it. it also made me think of the John Williams soundtrack to schindler's list (a little klezmer influence, perhaps), but didn't find it there either.

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    Senior Member Petwhac's Avatar
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    mmm don't think it's Poulenc. It does sound familiar though.
    Frank? Gounod?

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    got it!

    Saint-Saëns, messe de requiem op54: agnus dei. 2nd theme (moderato section), about 21 bars in.
    page 74 of this score: http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usim...ch._score_.pdf

    right?

    lovely. the orchestration reminds me of the quid sum miser of the Berlioz requiem. i'm a requiem junkie.

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    I once saw an old man get a hart attack during the performance of Verdi's Requiem. I couldn't help but think that that's quite a classy way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    I once saw an old man get a hart attack during the performance of Verdi's Requiem. I couldn't help but think that that's quite a classy way to go.
    nice! if you had to pick a requiem to go out to--the soundtrack of your demise, so to speak--which would you choose?

    i'm hoping to enjoy a few more decades before checking out, during which the best fit for my life story might change... but i'm tempted to say Ligeti! certainly wouldn't lack for drama.

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    THANK YOU le_sacre! I had almost given up of identifying this, which would have been a shame! When I skimmed Saint-Saens' Requiem (which was one of my first guesses), I had only listened to the first few seconds of each movement, whereas the theme I was asking about is, as you rightly point out, the second theme of the Agnus Dei.

    Many thanks once again for your help; this is truly a spectacularly intense and emotional piece of music...

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    Senior Member Falstaft's Avatar
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    Thanks le_sacre, this one was killing me too. Now I've taken a copy of the requiem (Chandos, Diego Fasolis conducting) out of the library and am listening to it. Terrific stuff! This "Agnus Dei" is really quite sweeping! I also found the end of the "Oro Supplex" extraordinary as well. Can't wait to hear what else this piece has in store.

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