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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 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.
Musical settings of the propers of the Requiem Mass are also called Requiems, and the term has subsequently been applied to other musical compositions associated with death and mourning, even when they lack religious or liturgical relevance.
The term is also used for similar ceremonies outside the Catholic Church, especially in the Anglo-Catholic branch of Anglicanism and in certain Lutheran churches. A comparable service, with a wholly different ritual form and texts, exists in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches.
The Mass and its settings draw their name from the introit of the liturgy, which begins with the words "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine" – "Grant them eternal rest, O Lord". ("Requiem" is the accusative singular form of the Latin noun requies, "rest, repose".) The Roman Missal as revised in 1970 employs this phrase as the first entrance antiphon among the formulas for Masses for the dead, and it remains in use to this day.
In earlier forms of the Roman Rite, some of which are still in use, a Requiem Mass differs in several ways from the usual Mass in that form. Some parts that were of relatively recent origin, including some that have been excluded in the 1970 revision, are omitted. Examples are the psalm Iudica at the start of Mass, the prayer said by the priest before reading the Gospel (or the blessing of the deacon, if a deacon reads it), and the first of the two prayers of the priest for himself before receiving Communion. Other omissions include the use of incense at the Introit and the Gospel, the kiss of peace, lit candles held by acolytes when a deacon chants the Gospel, and blessings. There is no Gloria in excelsis Deo, no recitation of the Creed, the Alleluia chant before the Gospel is replaced by a Tract, as in Lent, the Agnus Dei is altered, and Ite missa est is replaced with Requiescant in pace (May they rest in peace). Black is the obligatory liturgical colour of the vestments in the earlier forms, while the later form allows a choice between black and violet, and in some countries, such as England and Wales, white. The sequence Dies Iræ, recited or sung between the Tract and the Gospel, is an obligatory part of the Requiem Mass in the earlier forms. As its opening words, Dies irae (Day of wrath), indicate, this poetic composition speaks of the Day of Judgment in fearsome terms; it then appeals to Jesus for mercy.
Celebrations of the Requiem Mass were sometimes referred to as "black Masses", from the colour of the vestments worn by the priest. This term has no connection with the Satanist ritual of the same name.
The Requiem Mass is notable for the large number of musical compositions that it has inspired, including the settings of Mozart, Verdi and Fauré. 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.
The following are the texts that are set to music.
This is Greek (Κύριε ἐλέησον, Χριστὲ ἐλέησον, Κύριε ἐλέησον) Traditionally, each utterance is sung three times.
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". 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, replicates the rhyme and metre of the original. The second English version is a more formal equivalence.
As mentioned above, there is no Gloria, Alleluia or Credo in these musical settings.
The Pie Iesu consists of the final words of the Dies Irae followed by the final words of the Agnus Dei.
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.
History of musical compositions
For many centuries the texts of the requiem were sung to Gregorian melodies. The Requiem by Johannes Ockeghem, written sometime in the latter 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. 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.
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. 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
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.
Non-Roman Catholic Requiem
Requiem is also used to describe any sacred composition that sets to music religious texts which would be appropriate at a funeral, or to describe such compositions for liturgies other than the Roman Catholic Mass. Among the earliest examples of this type are the German settings composed in the 17th century by Heinrich Schütz and Michael Praetorius, whose works are Lutheran adaptations of the Roman Catholic requiem, and which provided inspiration for the mighty German Requiem by Brahms.
Such works include:
Eastern Orthodox Requiem
In the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches, the requiem is the fullest form of memorial service (Greek: Parastas, Slavonic: Panikhida). The normal memorial service is a greatly abbreviated form of Matins, but the Requiem contains all of the psalms, readings, and hymns normally found in the All-Night Vigil (which combines the Canonical Hours of Vespers, Matins and First Hour), providing a complete set of propers for the departed. The full requiem will last around three and a half hours. In this format it more clearly represents the original concept of parastas, which means literally, "standing throughout (the night)." Often, there will be a Divine Liturgy celebrated the next morning with further propers for the departed.
Because of their great length, a full Requiem is rarely served. However, at least in the Russian liturgical tradition, a Requiem will often be served on the eve before the Glorification (canonization) of a saint, in a special service known as the "Last Panikhida."
Anglican burial service
The Anglican Book of Common Prayer contains seven texts which are collectively known as "funeral sentences"; several composers have written settings of these seven texts, which are generally known collectively as a "burial service." Composers who have set the Anglican burial service to music include William Croft, Thomas Morley, Orlando Gibbons, and Henry Purcell. The text of these seven sentences, from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, is:
20th and 21st century treatments
In the 20th century the requiem evolved in several new directions. The genre of War Requiem is perhaps the most notable, which comprise 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 (e.g., Kabalevsky's War Requiem, to poems by Robert Rozhdestvensky). 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."
One of the most recent compositions referencing a Requiem is the piece Lux Aeterna (commonly known under the name Requiem for a Dream), written by Clint Mansell. It was composed by Mansell for Darren Aronofsky's 2000 film Requiem for a Dream, which depicts the downfall of four characters because of addiction. The song can be literally interpreted as a requiem for the characters' dead hopes and dreams.
In 2008 bassist-composer Lisle Ellis released Sucker Punch: Requiem, a jazz requiem for graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Notable Requiem compositions
Many composers have composed a Requiem. Some of the most notable include the following (in chronological order):
Other Requiem composers
Requiem by language (other than Latin)
English with Latin
French, Greek, with Latin
French, English, German with Latin
Polish with Latin
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Requiem". Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.
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