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The OBC starts the season with “A German Requiem” by Brahms and the world première of “Human ‎Brother” by Cruixent

Aleix Palau
The OBC starts the season with “A German Requiem” by Brahms and the world première of “Human ‎Brother” by Cruixent

Kazushi Ono conducts the opening concert of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC). ‎Vocals will be performed by the Orfeó Català, soprano Ilona Krzywicka and baritone Dietrich ‎Henschel.‎

At 8 pm on Friday, 27 September, the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra will open the 2019_20 ‎season in L'Auditori’s Sala 1 Pau Casals with a programme consisting of “A German Requiem” ‎by Johannes Brahms and the commissioned work “Human Brother” by the composer Ferran ‎Cruixent. ‎

The event, which will be directed by the OBC’s principal conductor, maestro Kazushi Ono, will ‎also feature the Orfeó Català and solos sung by soprano Ilona Krzywicka and baritone Dietrich ‎Henschel. The programme can be seen again on Saturday 28 at 7 pm and Sunday 29 at 11 am.‎

At 8 pm on Friday, 27 September, the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra will open the 2019_20 ‎season in L'Auditori’s Sala 1 Pau Casals with a programme consisting of “A German Requiem” ‎by Johannes Brahms and the commissioned work “Human Brother” by the composer Ferran ‎Cruixent. ‎

The event, which will be directed by the OBC’s principal conductor, maestro Kazushi Ono, will ‎also feature the Orfeó Català and solos sung by soprano Ilona Krzywicka and baritone Dietrich ‎Henschel. Additional performances will take place on Saturday 28 at 7 pm and Sunday 29 at 11 ‎am.‎
The OBC with maestro Kazushi Ono, baritone Dietrich Henschel, soprano Ilona Krzywicka and ‎the Orfeó Català.‎


Brahms’ Requiem and the new work by Ferran Cruixent
‎2018 marked the 150th anniversary of the première of “A German Requiem” by Johannes ‎Brahms, one of the greatest masterworks within the symphonic choral repertoire of all time. ‎The work eschews the traditional Mass for the Dead’s canonical structure and is rather a ‎writing of great expressiveness that ponders the most human aspects of death. ‎

As regards “Human Brother”, this is a work for soprano and orchestra that the OBC ‎commissioned the composer Ferran Cruixent to write and which will receive its world ‎première this weekend. It is a single-movement work based on Cruixent’s text "Prayer for ‎the Human Brother” which explores the relationship between humans and artificial ‎intelligence at the dawn of a New Generation.‎
‎ ‎
The soprano soloist plays the role of a female artificial super-intelligence who comes from ‎the future to pray for humanity, a manifestation through which to reflect upon the ‎humanism we have lost and to question if AI is intelligence or merely an artifice.‎
‎ ‎
Some orchestral motifs, melodies and texts were created using machine learning and later ‎transcribed to the score. Liturgical references to Gregorian chant have also been processed ‎using computational algorithms.‎

This was made possible through a collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center ‎and Doctor of Physics Artur Garcia-Saez, who worked with the MareNostrum 4 ‎supercomputer to make sounds using audio from symphonic works by Ferran Cruixent.‎
‎ ‎
The musicians also have to use special techniques, such as Cyber Singing (that premièred for ‎the first time in 2010 on Cruixent’s symphonic work "Cyborg"). Cyber Singing is a digital voice ‎produced by the musicians themselves and introduces the possibility of a new kind of ‎interaction between the composer and the performer, establishing a communication that ‎goes beyond the score. ‎

The MP3 file prepared by the composer is played by the musician on their own mobile phone, ‎a device normally used for other purposes.‎
‎ ‎
The work’s epilogue references the Seikilos epitaph, considered the oldest surviving, ‎complete musical composition that contains musical notation and dates from around 200 BCE. ‎The tombstone bears the following inscription: “I am a tombstone, an image. Seikilos placed ‎me here as an enduring sign of remembrance beyond death.”‎

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