Líbera me ("Deliver me") is a Roman Catholic responsory that is sung in the Office of the Dead and at the absolution of the dead, a service of prayers for the dead said beside the coffin immediately after the Requiem Mass and before burial. The text of Libera me asks God to have mercy upon the deceased person at the Last Judgment. In addition to the Gregorian chant in the Roman Gradual, many composers have written settings for the text, including Tomás Luis de Victoria, Anton Bruckner (two settings), Giuseppe Verdi, Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Duruflé, Igor Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten, Krzysztof Penderecki, Antonio Salieri.
Libera me, Domine, de morte æterna, in die illa tremenda
Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day,
Libera me is begun by a cantor, who sings the versicles alone, and the responses are sung by the choir. The text is written in the first person singular, "Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death on that fearful day," a dramatic substitution in which the choir speaks for the dead person.
In the traditional Office, Libera me is also said on All Souls' Day (2 November) and whenever all three nocturns of Matins of the Dead are recited. On other occasions, the ninth responsory of Matins for the Dead begins with Libera me, but continues with a different text (Domine, de viis inferni, etc).
- Breviarium Benedictinum (in Latin). 4. 1725. p. 425.