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The Charlotte Symphony Meditates on Mortality in Mozart's Requiem

Apr 12, 2019

By Cecilia Whalen

On April 12, the Charlotte Symphony presented "Mozart's Requiem" at the Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. It was a three-piece program featuring the titled Mozart Requiem in D Minor, K. 626. With a chorus featuring more than 100 members echoing from behind and four soloists Margot Rood, soprano, Sofia Selowsky, mezzo-soprano, Isaiah Bell, tenor, and Adam Lau, bass calling toward the audience in front, the Charlotte Symphony performed expressively and effectively, leaving the audience to meditate on loss and our own mortality and to question what exactly it is that we confront after death.

Opening the evening were two shorter pieces. The first was a contemporary piece entitled "Charlotte Mecklenburg" by Nkeiru Okoye, commissioned by the Charlotte Symphony and premiered in 2018 in honor of the city's 250th anniversary. From Copland-esque wind themes to a drum set-backed bluesy section, "Charlotte Mecklenburg" explores some of the diverse ethnic and racial heritage of Charlotte and glimpses into its history from its founding to the present day. The orchestra executed this piece well, capturing each varying theme while maintaining an overall unity, representing some of the many parts that make up the whole of Charlotte.

In a way only art can, the Requiem takes listeners on a journey that should teach them something new, should change them, not by stating a fact but by allowing them an experience. The Requiem addresses the mystery of the dimension that comes after death. What is it that comes right before the Divine, and will we even get there? Mozart explores the notion that in between human mortality and Divine immortality, there must be something. Perhaps all we have to explain this interluding dimension is the arts; perhaps that interluding dimension is art.

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