Wednesday, April 14, 2010


A Requiem or Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead (Latin: Missa pro defunctis) or Mass of the dead (Latin: Missa defunctorum), is a Mass celebrated for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons, using a particular formula of the Roman Missal. It is frequently, but not necessarily, celebrated in the context of a funeral.

Gabriel Fauré composed his Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 between 1887 and 1890. This choral-orchestral setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead is the best known of his large works. The most famous movement is the soprano aria Pie Jesu. Camille Saint-Saëns said of it, "just as Mozart's is the only Ave verum Corpus, this is the only Pie Jesu."

Fauré on his Requiem

  • “Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.”
  • "It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience. The music of Gounod has been criticized for its overinclination towards human tenderness. But his nature predisposed him to feel this way: religious emotion took this form inside him. Is it not necessary to accept the artist's nature? As to my Requiem, perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different."
After doing the St John Passion with its intense high drama it is sheer relief and a joy to be singing Fauré's "lullaby of death".

Many of the movements from this Requiem have been used in movies, in TV shows, and by other artists. The two most used are Pie Jesu and In paradisum.

In Paradisum sung by the All Angels:

In the movie 28 Days Later, 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror/science fiction film directed by Danny Boyle:

1 comment:

daharja said...

The Faure really is lovely, isn't it? I've sung it a number of times (although as an alto until recently) and it always sounds beautiful.