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Melodies of life and death

Ben's Boombox

By Ben Meinking
On April 1, 2014

Emotion: a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood or relationships with others. Mozart: a prolific Austrian composer and child prodigy; master of the classical style in all its forms of his time (1756-1791). Requiem: a mass for the repose of the souls of the dead.

The Department of Music in the College of Creative Arts put on a concert March 15 that struck the nerve of many whom filled the seats in the Hall Auditorium. The pieces presented were a reflection of life and death; Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 7 composed by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) and Requiem in D minor (K. 626) composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). Strauss was being honored for his 150th birthday, signifying the birth of life. Mozart's Requiem was his last known piece of work. The score was not finished by the time Mozart passed and was later finished by a few students and friends. As the myth goes, Mozart was given the task of writing a funeral mass that he soon believed was a mass for himself. He composed about a quarter of the score and fell sick, blaming it on being poisoned. Mozart's Requiem was later played at his funeral upon completion. The Requiem has been brought out for recital for various important moments to celebrate death, one being a memorial service for John F. Kennedy in 1964.

When celebrating both life and death, a great emotional state can take over the body. Expressing this emotion lets people know what you are feeling; it's a way of communication. The conductor of an orchestra must let himself express the emotion that is inside him to let the members of the orchestra know how to react to the piece in front of them.

The Miami University Chamber Singers, Collegiate Chorale and Symphony Orchestra collaboration that performed the Requiem was conducted by William Bausano.

"Bausano uses his face a lot [when conducting]," Kristen Condon, an alto member of the Collegiate Chorale, said. "He expresses the feeling that we should give our audience so they can interpret the piece the way that it's intended to be heard."

Hall Auditorium was a great place to hear this rendition of Mozart's Requiem. The opening notes set the tone to make the outing such an experience for the ages. From birth to death, this concert was one that will continue to fill the seats in the audience and keep the ticket line out the door. Check out the schedule upcoming shows; the next must-see is the Miami University Steel Band at 7:30 p.m. on April 9.


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