Symphony in D Minor, a masterpiece conceived by Belgium-born César Franck, who spent most of his life in Paris, aroused considerable controversy at the time of its premiere (in 1888, two years before the composer’s death) – critics from the French capital accused it of being “too German”, which is quite an exaggeration, but the traditional cyclic symphonic form was admittedly not especially popular in France at the time. Although Franck’s attempt to overcome this prejudice proved unsuccessful; history did justice to this inspired Symphony of great melodic beauty and lavish harmonies, as it is a favourite of philharmonic audiences today.
There have been few works in the history of music so adored, so moving and yet so mysterious as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem. Did the composer really write this funeral mass, which he did not manage to finish, with his own death in mind, sensing his imminent demise? We will probably never find out, but this is how people in the 19th century wanted to see this work. It is said that the Latin funeral mass was finished by Mozart’s pupil F.X. Süssmayr. For over two centuries, the work has been the subject of numerous commentaries, both scholarly and purely speculative (and a great many alternative endings have been offered). And yet it continues to move listeners in the same way, and is one of the most important items in the concert and recording repertoire.