Requiem in B flat Minor op.59
Georg Henschel – Requiem op. 59 in B flat major
(b. Breslau, February 18, 1850 – d. Aviemore, Scotland, September 10, 1934)
Georg (later anglicized to George) Henschel was born in the Silesian capital of Breslau (now Wrocław) in 1850. After studying singing and piano, in Leipzig and Berlin, he embarked on a successful career as a baritone soloist. Henschel focused on song recitals and concert hall performances, but rarely featured on the operatic stage. He became a close friend of Johannes Brahms and a strong promoter of Brahms’s music. As an accomplished pianist, he was also active as accompanist and, on occasion, even accompanied himself.
In 1877, he moved to England where he met his future wife, the American soprano Lillian Bailey. They were married in Boston, Mass., where Henschel was appointed the inaugural music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1881. This appointment triggered his third career as a conductor. After three seasons he moved back to the United Kingdom, where he founded and conducted the London Symphony Concert series in 1886. Following this, he took up the position as musical director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 1893.
In 1901 his wife died aged 41; the grief-stricken husband composed the Requiem op. 59 in her memory. It was premiered on 2 December 1902 in Boston, with Georg Henschel featuring as bass soloist. Their daughter Helen Henschel, a mezzo-soprano, sung the contralto part. Following his wife’s death, Henschel retired from his musical career and spent the rest of his life in Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands, where he died in 1934.
Henschel’s Requiem consists of five movements: “Introit”, “Dies irae”, “Offertorio”, “Sanctus” and “Agnus Dei”. Unlike many other composers, he does not divide the extended Dies irae sequence into a number of smaller movements. In addition, he omits the “Pie Jesu”, usually heard after the “Sanctus”, and similarly leaves out a “Libera me” or an “In Paradisum”. The latter two texts were particularly popular in late Romantic requiems. …
Read full preface / Komplettes Vorwort lesen > HERE