About Oratio Spei
The requiem Oratio Spei (Prayer of Hope), commissioned by Mr. Hubert Wiesenmaier, of Pelham, New York, was being finalized by Juraj Filas, one of the Czech Republic’s most important modern-day composers, just as the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were unfolding in real-time on television. Shocked by these horrendous acts of terrorism, Mr. Filas was moved to dedicate his work to the victims of 9/11. Mr. Filas, felt that he could not remain indifferent when the highest values of humanity and civilization were threatened.
Oratio Spei is based on the traditional, profoundly emotional text of the Latin Mass for the deceased who ask for forgiveness as they depart this world. Unlike traditional requiems, however, Oratio Spei does not dwell only on grief and fear of death, but also concludes with one the most consoling messages of the New Testament: “he who believes in me, even if already dead, will live forever.”
About Juraj Filas
Juraj Filas is considered one of the most important contemporary composers today. His work includes more than 100 compositions: symphonies, cantatas, concerts, numerous compositions for chamber music, as well as the prize-winning TV opera momento mori, the requiem Oratio Spei which is dedicated to the victims of terrorism, a concerto Grosso Copernicus, the opera Jane Eyre. More recently, Mr. Filas completed The Wisdom of the Wise Man, a cantata for choir, violoncello and organ, and a cantata for soli, choir and orchestra, The Song of Solomon, both of which premiered at New York City’s Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, and Carnegie Hall
His compositions were performed by well known soloists including Joseph Alessi, trombone soloist of the New York Philharmonic, and ensembles and orchestras in Europe and in the U.S. – including the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, Germany, the Prague Spring Festival, by the ORF Vienna, in the Tonhalle of Zurich, Carnegie Hall, Sacred Music at a Sacred Space in New York City as well as in London, Glasgow, St. Gallen, Genf, Fulda, Paris, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, and Mexico City. Several of his works were broadcast by Czech and Slovak Radio and Television, and have been recorded.
Mr. Filas, born in 1955 in Kosice, Slovakia, graduated from the Prague Conservatory in 1976 in voice and composition, and received a diploma in composition in 1981 from Prof. J. Zd. Bartos and Jiri Pauer. Mr. Filas uses a distinctly lyrical and emotional musical language win keeping with distinct European musical traditions.
He lives in Prague and in addition to his work as a composer he has been teaching composition at the Prague Academy of Music since 1985. In February of 2012, the President of the Czech Republic awarded Mr. Filas the prestigious title of tenured Professor of the Czech Music Academy.
Media & Press
WQXR calls Oratio Spei as impressive and dramatic work and will feature the Filas requiem online, as one of the major works written and/or dedicated in response to 9/11.
Interview with Juraj Filas