Great Requiems for November
Week Three: John Rutter Requiem
Week Three: John Rutter Requiem
A Soul Brought to Heaven. William-Adolphe Bougereau (1878).
John Rutters’s Requiem is a musical setting of selected texts of the traditional Latin Requiem Mass, and like Johannes Brahms and Benjamin Britten before him, Rutter has added psalms and biblical verses in the vernacular. Completed in 1985, it is scored for soprano soloist, mixed choir and orchestra or chamber ensemble. The score of the Requiem bears the dedication "in memoriam L. F. R.", John Rutter's father, who had died the previous year. This version was broadcast from Hereford Cathedral on 29 March 1991 as part of the “Cathedral Classics Concert” series, under the title “Rest Eternal, Light Eternal”. It features the choir of Hereford Cathedral, the soprano Caroline Ashton and the London Festival Orchestra, conducted by Roy Massey. Introduced by Debbie Thrower.
The first movement consists of the Introit from the Requiem ("Requiem aeternam") and the Kyrie. The work opens with a steady beat of the timpani, to which instruments enter, first without a defined key. The voices enter in measure 7, starting in unison on the note C Requiem aeternam. The text beginning Kyrie Eleison is set in G major.
The second movement is entitled Out of the Deep, the English version of Psalm 130, commonly used at Anglican funerals. It is set in C minor and begins with an expanded cello solo.
The third movement is the Pie Jesu, a text that concludes the sequence Dies Irae in the traditional Requiem Mass. Rutter, as before him Fauré and Duruflé, omits the sequence, but includes the prayer to Jesus for rest. It begins with a soprano soloist singing with a very light accompaniment, with only slight involvement of the chorus echoing the words Dona eis requiem, Dona eis sempiternam requiem.
The central movement is the Sanctus (with Benedictus), a lively, and exclamatory movement which is brightly orchestrated with bells, flute, and oboe and occasional timpani recalling the passage in Old Testament scripture in Isaiah chapter 6, describing the worship of the six-winged seraphim before the heavenly throne of God.
The fifth movement is the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God). Rutter uses a steady beat on one note, similar to the timpani of the first movement. The Latin text is contrasted with another biblical passage, Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live from the Book of Job. The call Agnus Dei in measure 58 is the dynamic climax of the whole Requiem. After an instrumental interlude, in which the flute quotes the melody Victimæ Paschali laudes, from the Easter morning sequence, the voices sing very softly I am the Resurrection and the Life from the St.John Gospel.
The sixth movement is The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23), frequently used at Anglican funerals. While it mentions the valley of the shadow of death, there is a greater expression of trust in God and hope for dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.
The seventh movement includes words from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer Burial Service (I heard a voice from heaven...and the communion chant, Lux Aeterna.
Time Markers (to hear the entire Requiem, click here). You can skip the advertisements after four seconds.
00:00 Requiem aeternam (Introit and Kyrie)
08:11 Out of the deep (Psalm130 )
14:12 Pie Jesu (soprano and chorus)
18:30 Sanctus, Benedictus
20:45 Agnus Dei
27:20 The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm23)
31:45 Lux aeterna (soprano and chorus)