March 14, 2024

A Rare Performance of Józef Kozłowski’s Requiem

Pentatone releases Kozłowski’s Requiem, together with The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and its Music Director Hans Graf, in April 2024.

A Requiem for a Nation

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and its Music Director Hans Graf present a recording of Józef Kozłowski’s Requiem, together with the Singapore Symphony Chorus and the Singapore Symphony Youth Choir as well as a quartet of outstanding soloists: Olga Peretyatko (soprano), Olesya Petrova (mezzo-soprano), Boris Stepanov (tenor) and Christoph Seidl (bass).

The Requiem (1798) was commissioned to Kozłowski by the abdicated King Stanisław of Poland, and can be perceived as a requiem not just for the monarch, but for the entire Polish nation, absorbed by the Russian state during the 1780s. Interestingly, the work was also heard during the funeral of Tsar Alexander I of Russia, in a different version with heavier orchestration and choruses for more drama. The current recording uses a new edition created by conductor Graf himself, realizing the intimate character of the original 1798 version. Composed just 7 years after Mozart’s famous Requiem, the work is rooted in Viennese Classicism, yet also adumbrates nineteenth-century developments, with a subtle Slavonic tinge. This revival is a gem to anyone interested in music from the early Romantic era.

The SSO returns to Pentatone after their acclaimed recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Locatelli’s Harmonic Labyrinth starring violinist Chloe Chua (2023). Hans Graf, the Singapore Symphony Chorus, the Singapore Symphony Youth Choir and the vocal quartet all make their Pentatone debut.

“…(Hans) Sørensen [of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra] obtained a Soviet edition of the score and piano score from St. Petersburg, as well as the 1798 autograph and subsequent first print edition by Breitkopf and Härtel in Leipzig. Kozłowski’s own 1798 reduction for keyboard and violin, used for rehearsals with singers and choruses, was also a valuable source of additional editorial information. It also tells us that the singers then were Italian and the soprano and alto parts were sung by men. Graf decided to perform the original 1798 version, thus leaving out the 1825 additions, such as a funeral march and a Salve Regina movement. The result of all these efforts is the modern score performed in this album.” (excerpts from liner notes)

“….the final movement fades into nothing…
It’s humility in front of death:
it’s the perfect death.”
Hans Graf

“I am so proud to be part of this extraordinary revival of a virtually forgotten masterpiece! It’s an honor to lend my voice to the music that is rarely heard. Performing and recording the Requiem of Jozef Kozłowski in the company of talented and dedicated musicians was an artistic thrill that inspired me to learn new things and to seek new ways to expand the repertoire.”

Olga Peretyatko

Digital Release Date: 19 APRIL 2024

Physical Release: APRIL 2024

Released as 1 standard CD and in digital formats for streaming and high-resolution downloads.