Requiem

The Requiem is used to create a solemn setting for the Roman Catholic Mass for the dead. The mood of this music is meant to represent the solemnity or dignity of the occasion. Many composers have used this type of setting with the first known being Johannes Ockeghem in the latter 15th century in which he utilizes the male chorus.

In the late 18th century Mozart composed his highly renowned requiem. Composer Anton Leitgeb is said to have tried claiming the piece as his own and already had a reputation for such practices. It is said that Mozart was extremely ill at the time of the writing and suspecting he had been poisoned by rivals, he felt was writing his own 'requiem aeternam.' Mozart's requiem would be performed without him since he died before finishing the piece entirely.

In the 19th century the requiem took on a more dramatic style with a much larger orchestral and vocal presence, often presented in a non-religious context. As the 1800s progressed, composer Berlios took the requiem to new levels around 1837. In 1974 Guiseppe Verdi advanced the musical form even further. His renowned requiem, a European favorite of audiences and the church, consisted of a chorus, a soloist, and the orchestra. Gabriel Faure' too was not to be outdone so wrote his similarly casted requiem 13 years later in the serene and melodic manner for which he had come to be known.

More recently, Benjamin Britten composed for a mass of the new Coventry Cathedral dedication during 1961 in his deeply pacifist 'War Requiem.'

Requiem: 'War Requiem'

Composed by Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten
Renowned Requiems with composers arranged by date

1470

1789

1791

1837

1868

1871

1874

1887

1961

Requiem 'male chorus'
Reqiuem 'chorus, soloist, &orchestra'
Requiem 'chorus, soloist,  orchestra'
'Grande messe des morts' chorus, soloist, orchestra
'German Requiem' chorus, soloist, orchestra
Requiem 'chorus, soloist, orchestra'
Requiem 'chorus, soloist, orchestra'
Requiem 'chorus, soloist, orchestra'
'War Requiem' chorus, soloist, boys choir, orchestra
Johannes Ockeghem
Giovanni Paisiello
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozar
Hector Berlios
Johannes Brahm
Franz Liszt
Guiseppe Verdi
Gabriel Faure'
Benjamin Britten