Leinsdorf, Erich

Performance DetailsRelease DetailsRelease Notes
Soprano: Sara Mae Endich
Alto: Eunice Alberts
Tenor: Nicholas DiVirgillio
Bass-Baritone: Mac Morgan

Choir: Chorus Pro Musica, Harvard Glee Club & Radcliffe Choral Society, New England Conservatory Chorus
Orchestra: Boston Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Erich Leinsdorf

Date: January 19, 1964
Venue: Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, USA
Live Recording

Label: RCA Red Seal
Cat No.: 88883720792
Released: August 26, 2013
On 19th Jan 1964, two months after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas shocked the world and tore at the very fabric of American society, a “civic and religious” memorial service for the slain president took place in his native Boston. At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross (where, exactly 50 years later, another US president, Barack Obama, would pay sorrowful tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing), Richard Cardinal Cushing, Boston’s archbishop and a close Kennedy family friend, celebrated a solemn pontifical requiem mass incorporating Mozart’s D minor Requiem. As Kennedy’s widow and other dignitaries in the 1800-seat cathedral listened and wept, and the entire nation watched on live television, Erich Leinsdorf conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra, four distinguished soloists and a chorus of 180 voices, drawn from three of the city’s major choral ensembles, in a uniquely moving performance of Mozart’s unfinished masterpiece. It was Leinsdorf, the BSO’s music director, who had selected the Requiem, inspired by parallels in the lives of Kennedy and Mozart which were eloquently articulated on the occasion by Cardinal Cushing: “Separated by centuries, they were both touched by a creative instinct uncommon in any generation; both brought out of their youth a shining light which will illumine the ages; both were summoned to eternity at a moment which to us mortals certainly seems untimely.” The Kennedy memorial in Boston was recorded live by RCA Victor and immediately issued in a 2-LP box. Now, 50 years after the tragic event it commemorates, the complete service containing the Mozart Requiem – including all the copious original documentation – becomes available for the first time internationally on CD, in a state-of-the-art remastering on Sony Classical.