Fabio Luisi has conducted a great many Verdi operas in his career, but Quattro pezzi sacri has been on his wish list for years. Few orchestras would dare to programme a work with such a large role for a cappella choir. His wish is now coming true with the Concertgebouworkest and the Netherlands Radio Choir.
Fabio Luisi understands the language of Verdi like no other. ‘He was spiritual rather than religious,’ he says. ‘But in the Quattro pezzi sacri, Verdi expresses himself in the language that every Italian speaks, that of the Catholic faith.’ The dramatic music we know so well from his operas effortlessly brings the words to life. ‘It’s not an opera, but it’s definitely Verdi.’
Fabio Luisi is looking forward to getting to know the Dutch composer Alphons Diepenbrock’s aptly pastoral Lydische nacht (Lydian Night). ‘It’s very beautifully written, with splendid timbres. I love discovering new music,’ he says. Diepenbrock, who died in 1921, had close ties with the Concertgebouworkest. Luisi, in his turn, is introducing us to his compatriot Gian Francesco Malipiero, who wrote his Pause del Silenzio I during the First World War, ‘the hardest time to find silence’, according to the composer. These ‘seven symphonic expressions’ are an early high point of this prolific Italian composer’s œuvre.