Music for the Requiem Mass

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The Requiem Mass is notable for the large number of musical compositions that it has inspired, including settings by Mozart, Verdi, Dvořák, Fauré and Duruflé. Originally, such compositions were meant to be performed in liturgical service, with monophonic chant. Eventually the dramatic character of the text began to appeal to composers to an extent that they made the requiem a genre of its own, and the compositions of composers such as Verdi are essentially concert pieces rather than liturgical works.

Incipit of the Gregorian chant introit for a Requiem Mass, from the Liber Usualis.

Common texts[edit]

The following are the texts that have been set to music.

Introit[edit]

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
A hymn becomes you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall a vow be repaid in Jerusalem.
Hear my prayer;
to you shall all flesh come.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Kyrie eleison[edit]

This is as the Kyrie in the Ordinary of the Mass:

Kyrie eleison;
Christe eleison;
Kyrie eleison.

Lord have mercy;
Christ have mercy;
Lord have mercy.

This is Greek (Κύριε ἐλέησον, Χριστὲ ἐλέησον, Κύριε ἐλέησον). Traditionally, each utterance is sung three times.

Gradual[edit]

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine :
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
In memoria æterna erit iustus,
ab auditione mala non timebit.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord :
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
He shall be justified in everlasting memory,
and shall not fear evil reports.

Tract[edit]

Absolve, Domine,
animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
ab omni vinculo delictorum
et gratia tua illis succurente
mereantur evadere iudicium ultionis,
et lucis æternae beatitudine perfrui.

Forgive, O Lord,
the souls of all the faithful departed
from all the chains of their sins
and by the aid to them of your grace
may they deserve to avoid the judgment of revenge,
and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light.

Sequence[edit]

Main article: Dies Irae

A sequence is a liturgical poem sung, when used, after the Tract (or Alleluia, if present). The sequence employed in the Requiem, Dies Irae, attributed to Thomas of Celano (c. 1200 – c. 1260–1270), has been called "the greatest of hymns", worthy of "supreme admiration".[1] The Latin text below is taken from the Requiem Mass in the 1962 Roman Missal. The first English version below, translated by William Josiah Irons in 1849,[2] replicates the rhyme and metre of the original. The second English version is a more formal equivalence.

01 Dies iræ! dies illa
Solvet sæclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla!
Day of wrath! O day of mourning!
See fulfilled the prophets' warning,
Heaven and earth in ashes burning!
The day of wrath, that day
Will dissolve the world in ashes
As foretold by David and the sibyl!
02 Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando iudex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!
Oh, what fear man's bosom rendeth,
when from heaven the Judge descendeth,
on whose sentence all dependeth.
How much tremor there will be,
when the judge will come,
investigating everything strictly!
03 Tuba, mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulchra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.
Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth;
through earth's sepulchers it ringeth;
all before the throne it bringeth.
The trumpet, scattering a wondrous sound
through the sepulchres of the regions,
will summon all before the throne.
04 Mors stupebit, et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Iudicanti responsura.
Death is struck, and nature quaking,
all creation is awaking,
to its Judge an answer making.
Death and nature will marvel,
when the creature arises,
to respond to the Judge.
05 Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus iudicetur.
Lo! the book, exactly worded,
wherein all hath been recorded:
thence shall judgment be awarded.
The written book will be brought forth,
in which all is contained,
from which the world shall be judged.
06 Iudex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet, apparebit:
Nil inultum remanebit.
When the Judge his seat attaineth,
and each hidden deed arraigneth,
nothing unavenged remaineth.
When therefore the judge will sit,
whatever hides will appear:
nothing will remain unpunished.
07 Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
Cum vix iustus sit securus?
What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Who for me be interceding,
when the just are mercy needing?
What am I, miserable, then to say?
Which patron to ask,
when [even] the just may [only] hardly be sure?
08 Rex tremendæ maiestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis.
King of Majesty tremendous,
who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us!
King of tremendous majesty,
who freely saves those who should be saved,
save me, source of mercy.
09 Recordare, Iesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuæ viæ:
Ne me perdas illa die.
Think, good Jesus, my salvation
cost thy wondrous Incarnation;
leave me not to reprobation!
Remember, merciful Jesus,
that I am the cause of thy way:
lest thou lose me in that day.
10 Quærens me, sedisti lassus:
Redemisti Crucem passus:
Tantus labor non sit cassus.
Faint and weary, thou hast sought me,
on the cross of suffering bought me.
shall such grace be vainly brought me?
Seeking me, thou sat tired:
thou redeemed [me] having suffered the Cross:
let not so much hardship be lost.
11 Iuste iudex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.
Righteous Judge! for sin's pollution
grant thy gift of absolution,
ere the day of retribution.
Just judge of revenge,
give the gift of remission
before the day of reckoning.
12 Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
Culpa rubet vultus meus:
Supplicanti parce, Deus.
Guilty, now I pour my moaning,
all my shame with anguish owning;
spare, O God, thy suppliant groaning!
I sigh, like the guilty one:
my face reddens in guilt:
Spare the supplicating one, God.
13 Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.
Thou the sinful woman savedst;
thou the dying thief forgavest;
and to me a hope vouchsafest.
Thou who absolved Mary,
and heardest the robber,
gavest hope to me, too.
14 Preces meæ non sunt dignæ:
Sed tu bonus fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.
Worthless are my prayers and sighing,
yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
rescue me from fires undying!
My prayers are not worthy:
however, thou, Good [Lord], do good,
lest I am burned up by eternal fire.
15 Inter oves locum præsta,
Et ab hædis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.
With thy favored sheep O place me;
nor among the goats abase me;
but to thy right hand upraise me.
Grant me a place among the sheep,
and take me out from among the goats,
setting me on the right side.
16 Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis:
Voca me cum benedictis.
While the wicked are confounded,
doomed to flames of woe unbounded
call me with thy saints surrounded.
Once the cursed have been rebuked,
sentenced to acrid flames:
Call thou me with the blessed.
17 Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis:
Gere curam mei finis.
Low I kneel, with heart submission,
see, like ashes, my contrition;
help me in my last condition.
I meekly and humbly pray,
[my] heart is as crushed as the ashes:
perform the healing of mine end.
18 Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Iudicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:
Ah! that day of tears and mourning!
From the dust of earth returning
man for judgment must prepare him;
Spare, O God, in mercy spare him!
Tearful will be that day,
on which from the ashes arises
the guilty man who is to be judged.
Spare him therefore, God.
19 Pie Iesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem. Amen.
Lord, all pitying, Jesus blest,
grant them thine eternal rest. Amen.
Merciful Lord Jesus,
grant them rest. Amen.

Offertory[edit]

Domine Iesu Christe, Rex gloriæ,
libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
de pœnis inferni et de profundo lacu.
Libera eas de ore leonis,
ne absorbeat eas tartarus,
ne cadant in obscurum;
sed signifer sanctus Michael
repræsentet eas in lucem sanctam,
quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini eius.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory,
free the souls of all the faithful departed
from infernal punishment and the deep pit.
Free them from the mouth of the lion;
do not let Tartarus swallow them,
nor let them fall into darkness;
but may the standard-bearer Saint Michael,
lead them into the holy light
which you once promised to Abraham and his seed.

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine,
laudis offerimus;
tu suscipe pro animabus illis,
quarum hodie memoriam facimus.
Fac eas, Domine, de morte transire ad vitam.
Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini eius.

O Lord, we offer You
sacrifices and prayers of praise;
accept them on behalf of those souls
whom we remember today.
Let them, O Lord, pass over from death to life,
as you once promised to Abraham and his seed.

Sanctus[edit]

This is as the Sanctus prayer in the Ordinary of the Mass:

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth;
pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis. (reprise)

Holy, Holy, Holy,
Lord God of Hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. (reprise)

Agnus Dei[edit]

This is as the Agnus Dei in the Ordinary of the Mass, but with the petitions miserere nobis changed to dona eis requiem, and dona nobis pacem to dona eis requiem sempiternam:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant them rest,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant them rest,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant them eternal rest.

Communion[edit]

Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine;
et lux perpetua luceat eis;
cum Sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.

May everlasting light shine upon them, O Lord,
with your Saints forever,
for you are kind.
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and may everlasting light shine upon them.
with your Saints forever,
for you are merciful.

As mentioned above, there is no Gloria, Alleluia or Credo in these musical settings.

Pie Jesu[edit]

Main article: Pie Jesu

Some extracts too have been set independently to music, such as Pie Iesu in the settings of Dvořák, Fauré, Duruflé and John Rutter.

The Pie Jesu consists of the final words of the Dies Irae followed by the final words of the Agnus Dei.

Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.
Dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Merciful Lord Jesus, grant them rest;
grant them eternal rest.

Musical Requiem settings sometimes include passages from the "Absolution at the bier" (Absolutio ad feretrum) or "Commendation of the dead person" (referred to also as the Absolution of the dead), which in the case of a funeral, follows the conclusion of the Mass.

Libera Me[edit]

Main article: Libera Me

Libera me, Domine, de morte æterna, in die illa tremenda:
Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.
Dum veneris iudicare sæculum per ignem.
Tremens factus sum ego, et timeo, dum discussio venerit, atque ventura ira.
Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.
Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitatis et miseriæ, dies magna et amara valde.
Dum veneris iudicare sæculum per ignem.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day,
when the heavens and the earth shall be moved,
when thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
I am made to tremble, and I fear, till the judgment be upon us, and the coming wrath,
when the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness,
when thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them.

In paradisum[edit]

Main article: In paradisum

In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

May Angels lead you into paradise;
may the Martyrs receive you at your coming
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of Angels receive you,
and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.

History of musical compositions[edit]

For many centuries the texts of the requiem were sung to Gregorian melodies. The Requiem by Johannes Ockeghem, written sometime in the later half of the 15th century, is the earliest surviving polyphonic setting. There was a setting by the elder composer Dufay, possibly earlier, which is now lost: Ockeghem's may have been modelled on it.[3] Many early compositions employ different texts that were in use in different liturgies around Europe before the Council of Trent set down the texts given above. The requiem of Brumel, circa 1500, is the first to include the Dies Iræ. In the early polyphonic settings of the Requiem, there is considerable textural contrast within the compositions themselves: simple chordal or fauxbourdon-like passages are contrasted with other sections of contrapuntal complexity, such as in the Offertory of Ockeghem's Requiem.[3]

In the 16th century, more and more composers set the Requiem mass. In contrast to practice in setting the Mass Ordinary, many of these settings used a cantus-firmus technique, something which had become quite archaic by mid-century. In addition, these settings used less textural contrast than the early settings by Ockeghem and Brumel, although the vocal scoring was often richer, for example in the six-voice Requiem by Jean Richafort which he wrote for the death of Josquin des Prez.[3] Other composers before 1550 include Pedro de Escobar, Antoine de Févin, Cristóbal Morales, and Pierre de La Rue; that by La Rue is probably the second oldest, after Ockeghem's.

Over 2,000 Requiem compositions have been composed to the present day. Typically the Renaissance settings, especially those not written on the Iberian Peninsula, may be performed a cappella (i.e. without necessary accompanying instrumental parts), whereas beginning around 1600 composers more often preferred to use instruments to accompany a choir, and also include vocal soloists. There is great variation between compositions in how much of liturgical text is set to music.

Most composers omit sections of the liturgical prescription, most frequently the Gradual and the Tract. Fauré omits the Dies iræ, while the very same text had often been set by French composers in previous centuries as a stand-alone work.

Sometimes composers divide an item of the liturgical text into two or more movements; because of the length of its text, the Dies iræ is the most frequently divided section of the text (as with Mozart, for instance). The Introit and Kyrie, being immediately adjacent in the actual Roman Catholic liturgy, are often composed as one movement.

Musico-thematic relationships among movements within a Requiem can be found as well.

Requiem in concert[edit]

Beginning in the 18th century and continuing through the 19th, many composers wrote what are effectively concert works, which by virtue of employing forces too large, or lasting such a considerable duration, prevent them being readily used in an ordinary funeral service; the requiems of Gossec, Berlioz, Verdi, and Dvořák are essentially dramatic concert oratorios. A counter-reaction to this tendency came from the Cecilian movement, which recommended restrained accompaniment for liturgical music, and frowned upon the use of operatic vocal soloists.

Notable compositions[edit]

A portion of the manuscript of Mozart's Requiem, K 626 (1791), showing his heading for the first movement.

Many composers have composed Requiems. Some of the most notable include the following (in chronological order):

See also: Category:Requiems

Other composers[edit]

Renaissance[edit]

Baroque[edit]

Classical period[edit]

Romantic era[edit]

20th century[edit]

21st century[edit]

Requiem by language (other than Latin)[edit]

English with Latin

Estonian

German

French, Greek, with Latin

French, English, German with Latin

Japanese and Latin

Polish and Latin

Russian

Taiwanese

Nonlinguistic

Modern treatments[edit]

In the 20th century the requiem evolved in several new directions. The genre of War Requiem is perhaps the most notable; it consists of compositions dedicated to the memory of people killed in wartime. These often include extra-liturgical poems of a pacifist or non-liturgical nature; for example, the War Requiem of Benjamin Britten juxtaposes the Latin text with the poetry of Wilfred Owen, Krzysztof Penderecki's Polish Requiem includes a traditional Polish hymn within the sequence, and Robert Steadman's Mass in Black intersperses environmental poetry and prophecies of Nostradamus. Holocaust Requiem may be regarded as a specific subset of this type. The World Requiem of John Foulds was written in the aftermath of the First World War and initiated the Royal British Legion's annual festival of remembrance. Recent requiem works by Taiwanese composers Tyzen Hsiao and Fan-Long Ko follow in this tradition, honouring victims of the 2-28 Incident and subsequent White Terror. Another recent requiem composed by Hong Kong composer Man-Ching Donald Yu, in remembrance of the victims of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake.

Lastly, the 20th century saw the development of the secular Requiem, written for public performance without specific religious observance, such as Frederick Delius's Requiem, completed in 1916 and dedicated to "the memory of all young Artists fallen in the war",[7] and Dmitry Kabalevsky's Requiem (Op. 72 – 1962), a setting of a poem written by Robert Rozhdestvensky especially for the composition.[8] Herbert Howells's unaccompanied Requiem uses Psalm 23 ("The Lord is my shepherd"), Psalm 121 ("I will lift up mine eyes"), "Salvator mundi" ("O Saviour of the world," in English), "Requiem aeternam" (two different settings), and "I heard a voice from heaven." Some composers have written purely instrumental works bearing the title of requiem, as famously exemplified by Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem. Hans Werner Henze's Das Floß der Medusa, written in 1968 as a requiem for Che Guevara, is properly speaking an oratorio; Henze's Requiem is instrumental but retains the traditional Latin titles for the movements. Igor Stravinsky's Requiem canticles mixes instrumental movements with segments of the "Introit," "Dies irae," "Pie Jesu," and "Libera me."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nott, Charles C. (1902). The Seven Great Hymns of the Mediaeval Church. New York: Edwin S. Gorham. p. 45. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  2. ^ This translation appears in the English Missal and also The Hymnal 1940 of the Episcopal Church in the USA.
  3. ^ a b c Fabrice Fitch: "Requiem (2)", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed January 21, 2007)
  4. ^ p. 8, Kinder (2000) Keith William. Westport, Connecticut. The Wind and Wind-Chorus Music of Anton Bruckner Greenwood Press
  5. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/mar/25/bob-chilcott-requiem-wells-review
  6. ^ ALM Records ALCD-76 Silenziosa Luna
  7. ^ Corleonis, Adrian. Requiem, for soprano, baritone, double chorus & orchestra, RT ii/8 All Music Guide, Retrieved 2011-02-20
  8. ^ Flaxman, Fred. Controversial Comrade Kabalevsky Compact Discoveries with Fred Flaxman, 2007, Retrieved 2011-02-20;
  • Mozart's "Requiem". Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Carlos Kalmar, conductor. Live concert with the completion of its well-known unfinished musical score of the musicologist Robert Levin.
  • Fauré's "Requiem". Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Petri Sakari, conductor. Live concert.
  • Dvořák's "Requiem". Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Carlos Kalmar, conductor. Live concert. [1]