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Louisville Orchestra Seeks The Spiritual In Pop Culture Favorite, 'Requiem'

Teddy Abrams conducts the Louisville Orchestra in his first concert as Music Director in Spring 2014.
Courtesy of the artist
Teddy Abrams conducts the Louisville Orchestra in his first concert as Music Director in Spring 2014.

Classical music holds a solid place in pop culture outside the concert hall — from inclusion in Looney Tune cartoons to some of our favorite movies. Arguably, one of the most recognizable works is Mozart’s “Requiem,” and I guarantee you’ve heard it before.

So many times, in fact, that when you do hear it, it’s probably played for a laugh.

It’s featured in the “Big Lebowski.”

It was used to score a sketch in “Key and Peele.”

And there’s ongoing discussion in the comments section of YouTube where people talk about what the pick-up in the “Dies Irae” section makes them think of.

The most popular comment is that is reminds one listener of “when u run to find your charger because your iPhone has 1%”

But the Louisville Orchestra is reminding audience members of the more sacred origins of “Requiem,” in an upcoming performance by pairing it with Claudio Monteverdi’s “Vespers of 1610.”

When originally released, Monteverdi’s “Vespers” was unprecedented. It combined old and new musical styles and also showed a range of emotion — from intimate, prayerful moments to more performative elements, all within the context of sacred choral music.

Mozart’s “Requiem,” which was composed over a century later, follows the outline of the “Missa pro defunctis” or Mass for the dead, which is a Mass offered in the Catholic Church for souls of the deceased.

Both pieces changed the canon of classical music.

And when paired together in the Louisville Orchestra’s upcoming production, audiences can appreciate the spiritual inspiration behind both compositions.

“Requiem” will be produced Oct. 26 and 27.