Requiem


Requiem

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Requiem. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

If you think of the word "Requiem", what does that signify to you?

0:00:030:00:05

HE LAUGHS

0:00:080:00:09

Hmm.

0:00:090:00:11

Yeah... LAUGHTER

0:00:110:00:13

Goodness, you should have warned me about that one.

0:00:130:00:15

I think about...

0:00:190:00:21

being a choirboy, actually, and singing them

0:00:210:00:24

from a really young age at the big religious occasions

0:00:240:00:27

It's a word that obviously has a slightly sombre connotation.

0:00:320:00:36

It means rest, and I think the one thing

0:00:380:00:41

that everybody seeks in bereavement is rest.

0:00:410:00:46

Life and death and...

0:00:460:00:48

maybe what's to come, or not to come.

0:00:480:00:51

Some composers really do want to make you literally frightened

0:00:540:00:57

of the Day of Judgment.

0:00:570:00:59

Where you hope to be separated from the goats on the left

0:00:590:01:03

and join the sheep on the right

0:01:030:01:06

The one thing you have to believe in is death.

0:01:080:01:11

And this is what these pieces are about.

0:01:110:01:14

It belongs very much to this earth,

0:01:150:01:18

this Requiem business. After all,

0:01:180:01:20

it's only an imaginative guess at what might happen.

0:01:200:01:24

Good afternoon, everyone.

0:01:330:01:34

We'll do the Dies Irae,

0:01:340:01:35

it's the first 100 or so bars of the Dies Irae.

0:01:350:01:37

From plainsong to Penderecki,

0:01:390:01:41

there have been more than 2,000 musical Requiems

0:01:410:01:43

composed over the last 500 years.

0:01:430:01:46

Think that that's still a fortissimo, so it has guts, that phrase.

0:01:460:01:50

They include some of the most famous pieces

0:01:500:01:52

of classical music ever written

0:01:520:01:54

It's always about those upbeat quavers, ya-ba-bam-bah.

0:01:540:01:57

If we can always energise that. .

0:01:570:01:59

In an often secular world,

0:01:590:02:01

the Requiem seems to have an ever-stronger hold

0:02:010:02:03

on our imagination and our affections,

0:02:030:02:06

whether as listeners or performers.

0:02:060:02:08

I want to hear the two accents stronger. Dah, DAH-DAH. Dah, DAH DAH.

0:02:080:02:12

From its Catholic roots,

0:02:120:02:13

the concept of Requiem has flowered in other Christian traditions,

0:02:130:02:18

and the Latin word is now part of everyday language.

0:02:180:02:20

Such is the power of ritual and music

0:02:200:02:24

at the heart of life's greatest mystery - death.

0:02:240:02:28

BELL TOLLS

0:02:280:02:31

In the waters of baptism, Peter Francis died with Christ

0:02:310:02:33

and rose with him to new life.

0:02:330:02:35

May he now share with him in eternal glory.

0:02:350:02:39

The origins of the Requiem Mass

0:02:410:02:43

are lost in the mists of medieval Christianity.

0:02:430:02:45

Over the last two centuries,

0:02:450:02:47

it's been prised out of the hands of the Church

0:02:470:02:51

and taken to a wider concert audience.

0:02:510:02:54

The culprits were composers

0:02:540:02:56

who seized on the drama of the Last Judgment

0:02:560:02:59

in the text of the Requiem with glee.

0:02:590:03:02

At first, the different musical movements

0:03:020:03:05

were scattered through the whole Mass,

0:03:050:03:07

but later Requiems were heard in one go,

0:03:070:03:10

without the liturgy getting in the way.

0:03:100:03:12

The impetus behind this more symphonic Requiem

0:03:120:03:15

came from the years of revolutionary turmoil in France

0:03:150:03:19

thanks to one man largely overlooked today,

0:03:190:03:22

the Requiem's godfather.

0:03:220:03:24

He was, appropriately enough,

0:03:240:03:25

an Italian living in Paris, Luigi Cherubini.

0:03:250:03:29

# Dies irae

0:03:410:03:43

# Dies illa

0:03:430:03:45

# Solvet saeclum

0:03:450:03:47

# In favilla

0:03:470:03:50

# Teste David cum Sibylla!

0:03:500:03:53

# Quantus tremor est futurus

0:03:530:03:55

# Quando iudex est venturus

0:03:550:03:58

# Cuncta stricte discussurus!

0:03:580:04:05

# Tuba mirum spargens sonum

0:04:060:04:11

# Per sepulchra regionum

0:04:130:04:16

# Coget omnes

0:04:160:04:19

# Ante thronum

0:04:190:04:21

# Coget omnes

0:04:210:04:24

# Ante thronum... #

0:04:240:04:28

'I was fascinated'

0:04:280:04:30

by working on the Cherubini,

0:04:300:04:32

because that has the grand gesture,

0:04:320:04:36

but it also has the pathos.

0:04:360:04:38

You have this big tam-tam at the beginning,

0:04:380:04:41

the gong, we would say nowadays

0:04:410:04:43

And the tam-tam belonged to the music of the revolution.

0:04:430:04:48

The day of the last judgment,

0:04:480:04:50

in this piece, is not the judgment of Louis XVI,

0:04:500:04:54

it's the judgment of the people who killed the King

0:04:540:04:59

The assassins from the revolution.

0:04:590:05:01

One thinks straight away of the Dies Irae of Verdi.

0:05:010:05:03

I don't know if he knew the piece,

0:05:030:05:05

but something had been created then already.

0:05:050:05:07

I mean, it's no wonder

0:05:070:05:08

that composers looked at the Cherubini as this model,

0:05:080:05:11

because he did something, I think, which was very new.

0:05:110:05:15

# Cum resurget creatura

0:05:150:05:17

# Judicanti responsura... #

0:05:170:05:23

And then you have the whisper of the chorus.

0:05:230:05:26

French Revolution,

0:05:280:05:30

the murderers of the King.

0:05:300:05:32

Images of hell.

0:05:380:05:40

The first time I heard this music, it was in a church

0:05:420:05:45

and it struck me

0:05:450:05:47

the power this music has inside a church.

0:05:470:05:50

It was absolutely an amazing experience for me.

0:05:500:05:53

# Quid sum miser tunc dicturus

0:05:530:05:55

# Quem patronum rogaturus

0:05:550:05:57

# cum vix justus sit securus

0:05:570:06:03

# Rex tremendae majestatis

0:06:050:06:10

# Rex tremendae majestatis

0:06:120:06:16

# Qui salvandos salvas gratis

0:06:160:06:21

# Salva me, fons pietas... #

0:06:210:06:25

That seems to have freed up later composers in the 19th century

0:06:250:06:29

to not incorporate some sort of church style in their music.

0:06:290:06:33

They don't feel like they're caged in this religious context.

0:06:330:06:37

They speak much more personally

0:06:370:06:40

Cherubini changed the way composers viewed the Requiem.

0:06:400:06:44

His contemporary, Beethoven,

0:06:440:06:46

apparently said that if he wrote a Requiem, which he never did,

0:06:460:06:49

he would take Cherubini's as his model.

0:06:490:06:52

Cherubini might be a little forgotten nowadays,

0:06:520:06:57

but in the end of the 18th century

0:06:570:06:59

and the beginning of the 19th century,

0:06:590:07:01

he was considered one of the greatest composers.

0:07:010:07:04

We know that Schumann and Brahms admired Cherubini.

0:07:040:07:08

Beethoven thought he was a sort of leading composer of the day

0:07:080:07:12

and Berlioz writes a long article about Requiems.

0:07:120:07:16

And he actually prefers Cherubini's Requiem to Mozart's

0:07:160:07:20

It wasn't just a question of drama.

0:07:220:07:24

The way Cherubini mixed religion and politics set a trend.

0:07:240:07:28

Many later Requiems would, in their own way,

0:07:280:07:30

have a political purpose.

0:07:300:07:32

In 1816, Cherubini's was a propaganda piece

0:07:340:07:37

for the newly restored Bourbon monarchy in France,

0:07:370:07:41

a Requiem to suggest the French Revolution was dead

0:07:410:07:45

The propaganda was a major element,

0:07:460:07:50

because the hero of the time was Napoleon.

0:07:500:07:53

So the French people had to forget about Napoleon

0:07:530:07:57

and the Bourbons had a very hard time

0:07:570:08:00

remembering that the real kings of France were them.

0:08:000:08:05

So the court composers had an agenda,

0:08:050:08:08

which was celebrating the royal family.

0:08:080:08:10

Long before the politics,

0:08:130:08:14

the Requiem had begun as a prayer for the soul of a dead Christian,

0:08:140:08:19

but it also suited the Church

0:08:190:08:21

to remind the living of the terrors of the Day of Judgment

0:08:210:08:24

and the need to behave well to win eternal life in heaven.

0:08:240:08:28

That was the point of the Latin plainchant the Dies Irae -

0:08:280:08:31

the Day of Anger.

0:08:310:08:34

There's an element

0:08:340:08:36

of what I might call verbal theatre about Requiem.

0:08:360:08:38

It's meant to make us sit up a little bit,

0:08:380:08:41

this is what we have to get ready for,

0:08:410:08:43

this is the judgment we're going to confront.

0:08:430:08:45

TRANSLATION FROM LATIN:

0:08:450:08:47

What makes a Requiem Mass different from any other Mass

0:08:550:08:59

is the great Thomas of Celano poem, the Dies Irae.

0:08:590:09:02

Which I think, for me, actually

0:09:020:09:05

is one of the greatest poems ever written.

0:09:050:09:08

Extraordinarily disciplined poem

0:09:080:09:11

of eight-syllable lines,

0:09:110:09:13

three at a time, monorhymed.

0:09:130:09:15

When Masses stopped being in plainsong

0:09:310:09:33

and started being in polyphony and so on,

0:09:330:09:36

then you could really get going on the drama.

0:09:360:09:38

And, for instance, somebody like Cavalli,

0:09:380:09:42

who wrote a very early one,

0:09:420:09:44

has a tremendously dramatic Dies Irae.

0:09:440:09:48

Not surprisingly, as he was an opera composer

0:09:550:09:58

with a real theatrical feel.

0:09:580:10:00

And by the time you get to... well, Berlioz, obviously,

0:10:050:10:08

but even in the middle, Mozart it is like an opera.

0:10:080:10:10

# Dies irae

0:10:100:10:13

# Dies illa

0:10:130:10:16

# Solvet saeclum in favilla

0:10:160:10:19

# Teste David cum Sibylla... #

0:10:190:10:22

I do think it's interesting, therefore,

0:10:220:10:24

that it's the opera composers,

0:10:240:10:27

when you think of Mozart and Verdi and Britten, to name but three

0:10:270:10:33

who really get some of the most astonishingly terrifying music

0:10:330:10:39

out of it.

0:10:390:10:40

# Dies irae

0:10:400:10:43

# Dies illa... #

0:10:430:10:45

I think it's one of the most alarming things that Mozart ever wrote,

0:10:460:10:50

and that anyone's ever written in this vein.

0:10:500:10:53

So when you emerge from it,

0:10:530:10:55

you will know something of what it will have felt like

0:10:550:11:00

to believe in death, judgment, heaven and hell.

0:11:000:11:03

# Cuncta stricte discussurus! #

0:11:030:11:08

It demonstrates the fear and trembling

0:11:080:11:11

in which we approach these things,

0:11:110:11:13

and especially if you believed in the Last Judgment,

0:11:130:11:17

because there is no human being without sin.

0:11:170:11:23

# Dies irae

0:11:260:11:34

# Dies irae

0:11:410:11:43

# Dies illa

0:11:430:11:49

# Solvet

0:11:520:11:53

# Saeclum

0:11:530:11:55

# In favilla... #

0:11:550:11:57

By the time of Verdi, the Dies Irae poem had become divorced

0:12:050:12:09

from its meditative plainsong origins,

0:12:090:12:11

and the Church was not best pleased.

0:12:110:12:14

Once you begin to have the terrors of judgment

0:12:180:12:22

rather vigorously and fully portrayed in the text,

0:12:220:12:26

then Christmas has come early for the composer,

0:12:260:12:28

because they can elaborate the dramatic,

0:12:280:12:31

or even melodramatic elements of that

0:12:310:12:33

and, of course, frequently, they do.

0:12:330:12:36

Is that at odds with the liturgical intention, really?

0:12:360:12:39

I think it is, to be honest.

0:12:390:12:40

I think it's one of the points of strain.

0:12:400:12:43

Nobody would dream of performing Verdi's Requiem, I hope,

0:12:430:12:47

as a liturgical event in a church.

0:12:470:12:49

I've seen the Mozart and the Faure done in church.

0:12:490:12:54

They just about work, but only just.

0:12:540:12:56

Gabriel Faure wrote his Requiem - "for fun", as he put it -

0:12:560:13:01

for the Madeleine Church in Paris where he was organist.

0:13:010:13:04

He chose a different path from Verdi's, 15 years before.

0:13:040:13:08

He steers clear of most of the drama.

0:13:080:13:11

In fact, he leaves out the Dies Irae altogether.

0:13:110:13:15

It's tender music,

0:13:150:13:16

sometimes almost private.

0:13:160:13:18

I remember, when I was still a student at the Royal Academy

0:13:180:13:20

one of our fellow students died very suddenly

0:13:200:13:23

and we performed the Faure Requiem

0:13:230:13:26

at a memorial service

0:13:260:13:27

and we all went to the rehearsal in the afternoon

0:13:270:13:30

and it was not a profoundly solemn rehearsal,

0:13:300:13:34

but then when it came to the service itself,

0:13:340:13:37

it was absolutely devastating.

0:13:370:13:40

I mean, to sit there and to see grieving parents,

0:13:400:13:42

and I don't think anyone got through that performance

0:13:420:13:46

without having to sit down and weep.

0:13:460:13:48

And then stand up and carry on singing.

0:13:480:13:51

Wonderful, grainy lower strings

0:14:150:14:18

And you just know that it's going to be the altos...

0:14:180:14:23

# O Domine

0:14:230:14:26

# Jesu Christe... #

0:14:260:14:30

These very bleak,

0:14:320:14:33

barren...

0:14:330:14:36

utterances from the choir.

0:14:360:14:38

Not quite sure where... where things are going.

0:14:380:14:42

# Defunctorum

0:14:420:14:47

# De peonis

0:14:470:14:50

# Inferni... #

0:14:500:14:54

Lord, set the souls of the departed free

0:14:540:14:59

from eternal punishment...

0:14:590:15:00

..and the deep lake.

0:15:020:15:05

That's such a wonderful image.

0:15:050:15:07

# O Domine

0:15:070:15:12

# Jesu Christe

0:15:120:15:17

# Rex Gloriae

0:15:170:15:20

# Libera animas

0:15:200:15:26

# Defunctorum... #

0:15:260:15:32

The lion's jaw.

0:15:320:15:34

# De ore leonis... #

0:15:340:15:41

Catholic images, these,

0:15:430:15:44

which must have been so meaningful to Faure.

0:15:440:15:48

# ..Tartarus...

0:15:480:15:53

# O Domine

0:15:550:15:57

# Jesu Christe

0:15:570:16:02

# Rex Gloriae

0:16:020:16:07

# O Domine

0:16:070:16:09

# Jesu Christe... #

0:16:090:16:16

May they not fall into darkness

0:16:260:16:30

And those strings, the depth and the darkness.

0:16:330:16:37

Wonderful scoring.

0:16:390:16:41

This is when you always try

0:16:470:16:48

and slow your breathing down, get a nice deep breath going.

0:16:480:16:52

And then a spokesman for mankind

0:17:000:17:03

steps forward, I suppose.

0:17:030:17:05

# Hostias

0:17:060:17:13

# Et preces tibi

0:17:130:17:19

# Domine

0:17:190:17:24

# Laudis

0:17:240:17:30

# Offerimus

0:17:300:17:38

# Tu suscipe

0:17:380:17:44

# Pro animabus illis... #

0:17:440:17:50

There's certainly tension and worry in the music,

0:17:500:17:54

but the overall feeling

0:17:540:17:56

is that you are being led very gently

0:17:560:17:59

into the world to come.

0:17:590:18:02

# Et semini

0:18:030:18:08

# Eus... #

0:18:080:18:14

There's a gentleness there which is rather feminine

0:18:140:18:17

and is certainly different from the more rough-hewn,

0:18:170:18:23

masculine cast

0:18:230:18:25

of both the Berlioz and the Verdi Requiems.

0:18:250:18:28

It was quite deliberate on Faure's part -

0:18:320:18:35

he detected the terror that his musical forebear Hector Berlioz

0:18:350:18:39

had so relished 50 years earlier.

0:18:390:18:41

His Requiem, The Grande Messe des Morts,

0:18:410:18:43

was, like Cherubini's, a political commission,

0:18:430:18:46

to express the glory of France at a big military funeral.

0:18:460:18:50

Parts of it are on a gigantic scale

0:18:510:18:53

and at the last minute it almost came to grief

0:18:530:18:56

at the hands of the conductor, Francois Antoine Habeneck.

0:18:560:18:59

Apparently he was very given to stopping beating

0:19:000:19:03

and taking a pinch of snuff

0:19:030:19:05

from his snuff box he always carried with him.

0:19:050:19:08

There is a very difficult point in the Requiem

0:19:080:19:11

which is in the "tuba mirums",

0:19:110:19:12

the beginning of the different brass bands.

0:19:120:19:15

In this point, the conductor has to be very attentive.

0:19:150:19:18

Habeneck, at this point,

0:19:230:19:25

as Berlioz tells us in the memoir,

0:19:250:19:27

quietly took a snuff box...

0:19:270:19:30

He chose the very moment in the Dies Irae

0:19:310:19:34

when the four brass bands come in

0:19:340:19:37

to stop beating.

0:19:370:19:38

Berlioz was just behind him

0:19:380:19:41

and very quickly took the stick of the conductor

0:19:410:19:44

and conducted the four brass orchestras.

0:19:440:19:47

Berlioz sprang forward

0:19:490:19:50

and marked out the beats and the situation was saved.

0:19:500:19:54

I know it sounds improbable,

0:19:540:19:56

but Charles Halle,

0:19:560:19:57

who later became the founder of the Halle Orchestra, was there

0:19:570:20:01

and said it definitely did happen.

0:20:010:20:03

It's so difficult to put it together.

0:20:540:20:56

Those four brass bands, some 4 players spread around the church,

0:20:580:21:02

were Berlioz's grand design for the last trump on Judgment Day.

0:21:020:21:07

Third orchestra, fourth orchestra with all the precise instruments.

0:21:070:21:12

He also specified a huge choir

0:21:150:21:18

in which men were to outnumber women almost two to one.

0:21:180:21:21

And an orchestra with 108 string players and 16 timpani.

0:21:210:21:26

Here you see the tam-tam,

0:21:280:21:30

which Berlioz probably heard and saw in Cherubini's Requiem

0:21:300:21:35

And then you see how he gives very precise

0:21:350:21:39

indications on how the instruments should be played.

0:21:390:21:42

"Frappez comme le tam-tam avec une baguette d'eponge."

0:21:420:21:45

And, of course, baguette is not a piece of bread,

0:21:450:21:48

it is a sponge stick.

0:21:480:21:50

Violent contrast, with a tremendous brass band effect and then

0:21:510:21:58

the next piece is written for one cor anglais and a bassoon, or something.

0:21:580:22:02

It's a tiny, tiny little sound And he's wonderful at that.

0:22:020:22:09

Yes, Berlioz loved the sound of the cor anglais.

0:22:150:22:19

And it's nearly always associated, in his music

0:22:190:22:23

with extreme sadness and desolation.

0:22:230:22:28

# Quid sum miser... #

0:22:280:22:34

It's a sort of stunned aftermath of the Day Of Judgment.

0:22:380:22:45

And these humanity...

0:22:450:22:48

Human beings are just sort of alone in this empty universe.

0:22:480:22:53

# Quem patronum... #

0:22:570:22:59

And the cor anglais is, in a way, feeling sorry for them,

0:22:590:23:03

is pitying them, in this sighing phrase.

0:23:030:23:06

# Quem patronum... #

0:23:060:23:10

The words are those of a despairing man pleading for mercy

0:23:100:23:14

and Berlioz has no compunction in treating the Latin words

0:23:140:23:17

of the Requiem Mass as an opera libretto,

0:23:170:23:20

moving them around to suit the drama.

0:23:200:23:22

Berlioz says that if all his works had to be burnt

0:23:250:23:30

and all were lost, he would save one,

0:23:300:23:34

and this one would be the Requiem, so he really loved this work.

0:23:340:23:39

# Ne me perdas illa die. #

0:23:390:23:47

His sort of innermost being is in this piece, you see.

0:23:470:23:51

He says for seven years, religion had been the joy of his life.

0:23:510:23:56

And I think the loss of that faith marks him very deeply

0:23:560:24:00

and I think he regrets bitterly this loss, this absence of God

0:24:000:24:04

# Cor contritum quasi cinis

0:24:040:24:09

# Gere curam... #

0:24:090:24:16

It's a very bleak work, I think

0:24:200:24:23

At the end, there's no answer. There's just emptiness.

0:24:270:24:30

100 years after Berlioz, 60 after Faure,

0:24:370:24:41

came a more orthodox Requiem of fervent belief,

0:24:410:24:44

written by another French organist.

0:24:440:24:46

Maurice Durufle went back to its plainsong origins

0:24:470:24:50

and you can almost smell the incense.

0:24:500:24:53

# Sanctus

0:24:530:24:58

# Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.. #

0:24:580:25:02

Such beautifully positive music

0:25:020:25:05

That wonderful sort of rippling in the accompaniment,

0:25:050:25:08

with the voices just riding above it.

0:25:080:25:11

# Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.. #

0:25:110:25:16

I love that piece and, for me,

0:25:160:25:18

it's one of the greatest incarnations of plainsong

0:25:180:25:23

in a richer harmonic texture.

0:25:230:25:26

I think it was obviously a conscious decision for him

0:25:260:25:29

to go back to the liturgical roots of the Requiem after these great...

0:25:290:25:34

..for want of a better word,

0:25:360:25:38

"concert" Requiems of the 19th century.

0:25:380:25:41

Now this wonderful build-up starts,

0:25:430:25:45

the voices piling in on top of each other.

0:25:450:25:48

# ...in nomine Domini! #

0:25:500:25:57

Oh, that's wonderful!

0:25:570:25:59

Just fantastic!

0:25:590:26:02

I think if I had a choice of ending my days

0:26:030:26:07

with a specific Requiem, it would be the Durufle.

0:26:070:26:09

But like those of Berlioz and Cherubini,

0:26:120:26:14

the Durufle Requiem was in some sense political.

0:26:140:26:18

It was commissioned by the wartime regime of Marshal Petain,

0:26:180:26:21

a propaganda piece for Vichy France

0:26:210:26:23

during its collaboration with Nazi Germany.

0:26:230:26:27

Durufle was a notoriously slow composer

0:26:270:26:30

so his Requiem only emerged way after the liberation of France,

0:26:300:26:34

free of any political taint.

0:26:340:26:36

Of all the Requiems written as government commissions,

0:26:480:26:52

the strangest is by Benjamin Britten.

0:26:520:26:54

A few weeks into the Second World War,

0:26:560:26:58

he was approached by the Japanese.

0:26:580:27:01

They wanted a piece to honour the Emperor.

0:27:010:27:03

It's bizarre. It's extraordinary.

0:27:160:27:18

And I'm sure it wasn't the piece they wanted in any way at all

0:27:180:27:22

but he's given us one of his great masterpieces.

0:27:220:27:25

I think it's every bit as good as the War Requiem

0:27:250:27:27

and every bit as personal.

0:27:270:27:30

Britten wrote his famous War Requiem in the 1960s,

0:27:370:27:40

but 20 years earlier came this Requiem symphony,

0:27:400:27:44

In The Shadow Of War.

0:27:440:27:46

The movements have Requiem titles.

0:27:490:27:52

This first one is Lacrimosa.

0:27:520:27:54

Its tears not of pity but of rage.

0:27:540:27:56

Shortly before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, they sent it back

0:27:580:28:02

It's an outpouring of grief for Britten's own parents.

0:28:470:28:50

What makes it really personal

0:28:530:28:56

and different is the fact he uses these Latin texts

0:28:560:29:00

as the titles of the three movements.

0:29:000:29:03

And it gives him a context for the different stages of grief, in a way.

0:29:030:29:08

But it's something which no-one else had really done before -

0:29:090:29:13

the idea that a purely orchestral piece could be a Requiem in itself.

0:29:130:29:17

It's like a ride into the abyss isn't it?

0:29:310:29:34

It's the feeling of the battlefield.

0:29:400:29:42

This piece just feels like it's galloping out of control.

0:29:470:29:49

It's so raw. It's so feral.

0:29:490:29:52

When you think of the Requiem,

0:30:330:30:34

is there a particular setting that springs to mind first?

0:30:340:30:38

Well, for me I think it always has to be Mozart,

0:30:380:30:43

probably because it's the one I've been most concerned with

0:30:430:30:46

most of my life.

0:30:460:30:47

It's really hard. I've been trying to get them down to a top three

0:30:470:30:51

and I think the Faure Requiem, for me,

0:30:510:30:54

is just the perfect Requiem.

0:30:540:30:55

I suppose the three that come to my mind

0:30:550:30:58

would be Mozart, Faure and Britten,

0:30:580:30:59

those are the three I personally value most.

0:30:590:31:02

# Denn alles Fleisch, es ist... #

0:31:020:31:04

This movement that...

0:31:040:31:05

# Daa-di-da

0:31:050:31:07

# La-di-ro-ro... #

0:31:070:31:10

I've always said when I'm on that desert island

0:31:100:31:12

that's the one disc that I'd take with me, is the Brahms Requiem

0:31:120:31:17

I adore the Verdi Requiem,

0:31:170:31:19

and I find that one of the most shattering.

0:31:190:31:23

For me, the great Requiems start...

0:31:230:31:25

..later on in the 19th century with Brahms, with Berlioz, with Verdi,

0:31:260:31:31

right the way through to Britten's in the 20th century.

0:31:310:31:35

Is that because of the dramatic element in them?

0:31:350:31:38

I think they speak more clearly to me

0:31:400:31:42

because of their dramatic element,

0:31:420:31:44

and the fact they're not in any way straitjacketed by their religious,

0:31:440:31:49

and the fact they're not in any way straitjacketed by their religious,

0:31:490:31:50

by their ecclesiastical context

0:31:500:31:52

# Requiem

0:31:540:31:58

# Ternam... #

0:32:000:32:14

The first Requiem we have that began that move out of the straitjacket

0:32:170:32:21

is by the Flemish composer Johannes Ockeghem.

0:32:210:32:24

In the late 15th century, it stepped away from traditional plainsong

0:32:250:32:29

Death had become a lucrative business for the Church,

0:32:310:32:34

which encouraged the faithful to pay large sums of money

0:32:340:32:37

for a ticket to heaven, a practice that raised the hackles

0:32:370:32:41

of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther.

0:32:410:32:43

Part of the Reformation revolt

0:32:490:32:52

was not only against the doctrine of purgatory, purification after death,

0:32:520:32:56

but also, perhaps even more so against the practice,

0:32:560:32:59

almost the industrialisation of prayer for the dead

0:32:590:33:03

in the late Middle Ages, chantry chapels, chapels and churches

0:33:030:33:06

dedicated entirely to praying for the dead.

0:33:060:33:08

People in their wills providing

0:33:080:33:10

for hundreds of Masses to be said for their soul.

0:33:100:33:13

CHOIR SINGS IN THE ROUND

0:33:130:33:16

The corrupt trade in death had a silver lining -

0:33:280:33:32

rich and sublime Requiem music

0:33:320:33:34

With the flowering of the polyphonic Requiem, plainsong took a back seat.

0:33:430:33:47

Composers strove to make funerals ever more impressive,

0:33:470:33:51

even if, as yet, there was no drama.

0:33:510:33:54

Take this glorious example

0:33:540:33:56

by the Spanish priest Tomas Luis de Victoria.

0:33:560:33:59

It's like a great Gothic vault in music, isn't it? So architectural.

0:34:150:34:20

There's an incredibly bright and affirmative sound,

0:34:200:34:24

even though it's a Requiem.

0:34:240:34:26

There's such certainty in the way he's setting it.

0:34:280:34:33

Victoria's Requiem was for the funeral of his patron,

0:34:420:34:45

the Empress Maria, sister of the King of Spain.

0:34:450:34:49

It was a work of devotion and the last piece he wrote.

0:34:490:34:52

Mozart's Requiem was his final work,

0:35:000:35:03

a dark and mysterious one

0:35:030:35:05

but not a work of devotion. It was just a job.

0:35:050:35:09

He was offered a fat fee to write it

0:35:090:35:11

by a stranger who knocked on his door,

0:35:110:35:13

acting on behalf of an eccentric young nobleman he hardly knew,

0:35:130:35:17

Count Walsegg.

0:35:170:35:20

Mozart was busy and kept putting it off.

0:35:200:35:23

When he finally got down to write it,

0:35:230:35:25

he was exhausted and dying, though he was only 35.

0:35:250:35:29

As he wrote his Requiem, he was getting weaker and weaker and weaker,

0:35:290:35:33

but he became increasingly obsessed with this commission of the Requiem

0:35:330:35:39

and even said to his wife at one point that he knew

0:35:390:35:43

he was writing his own Requiem at which point

0:35:430:35:46

Constanze very sensibly said, "Just leave it alone for a while,

0:35:460:35:49

"put it away, we're going for a walk,

0:35:490:35:51

"anything, but just get away from this."

0:35:510:35:54

He never did complete it

0:35:540:35:56

and whenever she conducts the Requiem, Jane Glover ensures

0:35:560:35:59

everyone is reminded of Mozart's final moments,

0:35:590:36:02

as recorded by Constanze's sister Sophie Haibel.

0:36:020:36:06

And, indeed, it was in her arms that Mozart died,

0:36:060:36:10

and 30 years later...

0:36:100:36:11

..his biographers asked Sophie for an account of this, which she wrote,

0:36:130:36:18

and it's sort of heartbreaking and so vivid.

0:36:180:36:22

I went up to his bedroom.

0:36:230:36:25

He called to me at once, "Ah, dear Sophie, it is good of you to come.

0:36:250:36:33

"You must say here tonight.

0:36:340:36:37

"You must see me die.

0:36:380:36:40

"I have the taste of death on my tongue already."

0:36:430:36:49

And she says that the last thing he tried to do

0:36:500:36:53

was to mouth the timpani parts of the Requiem,

0:36:530:36:57

and as she says, "That I can still hear."

0:36:570:37:00

One of the extraordinary breadths of music ever written

0:37:100:37:16

The opening bars of that piece are so extraordinary,

0:37:160:37:19

with the basset horn, it's...

0:37:190:37:21

..a one-off sound.

0:37:240:37:25

The whole colour has this depth and umber quality, a sort of aural gloom.

0:37:310:37:38

# Requiem aeternam dona eis... #

0:37:400:37:53

Mozart died on December the 5th 1791,

0:38:110:38:15

and it now turns out that he had, in effect,

0:38:150:38:17

been in writing his own Requiem

0:38:170:38:19

Just after his funeral,

0:38:190:38:21

a memorial service was held in St Michael's Church in central Vienna.

0:38:210:38:26

A document found in the church archives

0:38:260:38:28

suggests that what Mozart had written was sung at that service.

0:38:280:38:32

Mozart's widow Constanze was desperate to ensure that

0:38:360:38:39

the eccentric count would get the complete Requiem he'd commissioned,

0:38:390:38:43

and would therefore pay up in full,

0:38:430:38:46

so within days, she asked other hands to complete the score.

0:38:460:38:50

There were to be wrangles with the count over who had the right

0:38:530:38:56

to give the first full performance a year or so later,

0:38:560:38:59

but it seems that it was here

0:38:590:39:01

that Mozart's unfinished Requiem was first heard.

0:39:010:39:04

MAN SPEAKS IN GERMAN

0:39:050:39:08

Here we have the day, December the 10th 1791...

0:39:110:39:15

"Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart."

0:39:190:39:22

"The memorial Mass of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart."

0:39:220:39:27

HE SPEAKS IN GERMAN

0:39:270:39:30

"Church bells..."

0:39:300:39:32

"3 gulden and 36 kreuzer," the money of those days.

0:39:350:39:41

The document shows the cost of the Mass itself, the priest's vestments,

0:39:420:39:46

and a big black cloth hanging between the roof and the high altar.

0:39:460:39:50

Not a memorial Mass done on the cheap.

0:39:500:39:54

We discovered a document about 20 years ago,

0:39:540:39:57

and until then we thought Mozart is a poor man,

0:39:570:40:01

which is not right, because here we can see

0:40:010:40:03

that he got the second class

0:40:030:40:06

and second class means he had a special music, a special Mass

0:40:060:40:13

special church bells, special accolades.

0:40:130:40:17

A report in a handwritten Vienna newsletter called

0:40:170:40:20

The Secret Messenger makes clear that at this memorial Mass

0:40:200:40:24

at St Michael's, Mozart's Requiem was sung.

0:40:240:40:29

Having sung all his operas,

0:40:400:40:42

Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, Figaro,

0:40:420:40:47

this is...

0:40:470:40:49

totally different.

0:40:490:40:51

This, of course,

0:40:560:40:57

is the point at which Mozart actually stopped writing the Requiem

0:40:570:41:00

and as a passage, it expresses very deeply

0:41:000:41:03

the sense of darkening anxiety

0:41:030:41:06

It is indeed chilling that the last words that he actually said

0:41:090:41:13

were, "Judicandus homo reus" - a guilty man going to be judged

0:41:130:41:18

On his deathbed,

0:41:240:41:25

Mozart had been instructing his pupil Franz Xaver Sussmayr how

0:41:250:41:30

he wanted the work to go

0:41:300:41:32

and it fell to Sussmayr to complete it for Count Walsegg.

0:41:320:41:35

From the artful way Sussmayr wrote out the score,

0:41:370:41:40

the count may well have assumed that Mozart had composed the whole thing.

0:41:400:41:44

He certainly paid up.

0:41:440:41:46

If we compare the manuscript by Mozart

0:41:460:41:49

and the manuscript by Sussmayr we notice a striking similarity

0:41:490:41:56

At the head of the page, "Dies Irae" written by Mozart.

0:41:560:42:00

Obviously, Sussmayr tried to imitate Mozart's handwriting

0:42:000:42:04

and we must state that he imitated it very well.

0:42:040:42:08

The manuscripts provide fascinating evidence of which parts were

0:42:100:42:14

written when, according to the colour of the ink.

0:42:140:42:17

But they raise as many questions as they answer.

0:42:170:42:20

Even the declaration that the score is in Mozart's own hand

0:42:200:42:23

can't be taken at face value.

0:42:230:42:26

On the top of the first page, we see Mozart's signature.

0:42:260:42:31

It is written by me,

0:42:310:42:32

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and we have the interesting date '92, which was

0:42:320:42:39

one year after Mozart's death,

0:42:390:42:42

so it's impossible that he wrote it himself.

0:42:420:42:45

We are sure that this signature and the date was written by Sussmayr.

0:42:450:42:49

Since Sussmayr finished it,

0:42:590:43:01

many people with a much cleverer idea of how Mozart wrote and

0:43:010:43:06

what his processes were have done much cleverer completions of it

0:43:060:43:12

All of which I admire,

0:43:120:43:14

but I have to say the only one I ever perform is Sussmayr.

0:43:140:43:17

Why? Because he was there.

0:43:170:43:20

No other Requiem has had such a colourful genesis.

0:43:340:43:37

It set new benchmarks in its poignancy,

0:43:370:43:40

its sense of theatre and its orchestration.

0:43:400:43:43

In some ways, it started a chain of inspiration that stretched

0:43:430:43:47

throughout the 19th century.

0:43:470:43:49

Indeed, that godfather of the Requiem, Luigi Cherubini

0:43:490:43:53

took it up and performed it in Paris for the first time.

0:43:530:43:57

And he drew on its personal drama when writing his own.

0:43:570:44:01

Its politics apart, Cherubini's music was much admired,

0:44:180:44:22

even by the young Hector Berlioz, one of his students,

0:44:220:44:25

who enraged Cherubini with his cheek.

0:44:250:44:28

The rage was mutual.

0:44:280:44:30

Cherubini was probably about 7 and very sort of crotchety by that

0:44:300:44:34

time and Berlioz was this very young -

0:44:340:44:37

he was only in his early 20s - callow, young man who had no

0:44:370:44:42

respect for authority, so it's not surprising that they clashed.

0:44:420:44:45

There is a very important article of Berlioz at the death

0:45:030:45:07

of Cherubini in 1842.

0:45:070:45:09

Berlioz says Cherubini's religious music was one of the most

0:45:090:45:13

important of the beginning of the 19th century.

0:45:130:45:17

In particular, the Requiem,

0:45:170:45:18

which was the absolute masterwork of Cherubini.

0:45:180:45:21

The Agnus Dei, Cherubini's final movement,

0:45:270:45:30

is a plea to the lamb of God for eternal rest.

0:45:300:45:32

It gradually retreats from its earlier drama.

0:45:340:45:36

Berlioz said it surpassed any previous setting of the words.

0:45:400:45:45

"It's the gradual collapse of the suffering being," he said.

0:45:450:45:48

"One sees him fading and die, one hears him expire."

0:45:480:45:53

The end of that Agnus Dei is extraordinary in its pathos.

0:45:560:46:00

Cherubini loves these long diminuendos where the sound gradually

0:46:050:46:11

fades out into the distance, and this is an absolute hallmark of Berlioz.

0:46:110:46:16

I think Cherubini sort of sanctioned that in a way.

0:46:210:46:25

It's a chilling musical vision of nothingness, of a life extinguished.

0:46:390:46:44

As far back as we can go in human history, human beings

0:46:470:46:51

and even Neanderthals did not just drop corpses by the roadside.

0:46:510:46:56

They did something with them as if to say something has happened

0:46:560:46:59

here in this life which needs to be symbolised.

0:46:590:47:03

It's one of the things that makes us distinctive,

0:47:030:47:05

we treat the dead like that,

0:47:050:47:07

and if we ever got to the stage of a society which simply

0:47:070:47:11

discarded human remains as if they were rubbish, something very, very

0:47:110:47:18

serious would have happened to what we thought we were as human beings.

0:47:180:47:21

The momentous nature of the Requiem in marking the formality

0:47:220:47:26

and finality of death is perhaps why composers with numerous

0:47:260:47:30

symphonies, quartets or operas to their name seldom write more

0:47:300:47:34

than one Requiem Mass.

0:47:340:47:36

The last orchestral work by Robert Schumann, before he attempted

0:47:370:47:40

suicide and was taken to a mental asylum, was a Requiem

0:47:400:47:45

His own, just like Mozart's.

0:47:450:47:47

And distinctive in its unusual key.

0:47:470:47:50

D flat major is incredibly hard to play in

0:47:500:47:53

and Schumann meant something very specific by that.

0:47:530:47:55

D major is the sound of war and brilliance

0:47:550:47:58

because that's the trumpet's and timpani's best key,

0:47:580:48:03

the brightest key for them, but D flat major has this extraordinary

0:48:030:48:06

soulfulness because it's a hard key for everyone to find, actually

0:48:060:48:11

You really hear that in the beginning of Schumann's Requiem.

0:48:110:48:14

It's a tonality and a sense that is unlike any other piece I know.

0:48:140:48:19

It's a real de profundis, isn't it, to feel the depth of these chords.

0:48:450:48:48

The weight of that sound in D flat major is amazing.

0:48:480:48:52

It's so simple, but it's still got some real tensions

0:49:250:49:28

and darkness underneath.

0:49:280:49:29

And a lovely overlying romanticism.

0:49:310:49:34

His bright lux perpetua.

0:50:260:50:30

It's got so much sunshine in it

0:50:300:50:33

I came across it by chance, the Schumann Requiem,

0:51:010:51:04

about 15 years ago, and I couldn't believe what this piece was.

0:51:040:51:08

Its humanity and its beauty and its soothing quality.

0:51:090:51:13

Schumann, who declared Cherubini's Requiem was without

0:51:460:51:49

equal in the world, never actually heard his own.

0:51:490:51:52

After his death, his widow Clara sent the manuscript to the young

0:51:550:51:59

Johannes Brahms, and on his advice it was published

0:51:590:52:02

By that stage, Brahms had embarked on his Requiem

0:52:040:52:07

in memory of Schumann, who had so encouraged him.

0:52:070:52:10

Of course, the Brahms Requiem isn't really a Requiem at all

0:52:120:52:15

I mean, it's a selection of verses that he set to music

0:52:150:52:19

from the Lutheran Bible,

0:52:190:52:20

which were really on the subject of bereavement

0:52:200:52:24

and us down here, rather than the souls at rest up in heaven

0:52:240:52:29

The death of Schumann,

0:52:290:52:31

and later on then when he finalised the Requiem,

0:52:310:52:35

the death of his mother,

0:52:350:52:37

were very important for him to compose such a piece of music.

0:52:370:52:42

This was a revolutionary Requiem - the first by a Protestant.

0:52:430:52:47

Brahms ignored the Latin text of the Catholic Requiem Mass,

0:52:470:52:51

and set his work entirely in German.

0:52:510:52:54

But the surprising thing is that he still called it a Requiem,

0:52:540:52:59

a German Requiem.

0:52:590:53:00

His original idea was to call it "Ein Menschliches Requiem",

0:53:000:53:04

A Human Requiem,

0:53:040:53:05

because it is really about human loss and bereavement.

0:53:050:53:09

Yes, if you're not going to pray for the dead, then what do you do?

0:53:090:53:12

You focus, I suppose, on comfort,

0:53:120:53:14

you focus on what kind of god is it

0:53:140:53:18

into whose hands you've, as it were, delivered the departed.

0:53:180:53:21

Brahms was writing in the 1860s a young man,

0:53:210:53:25

not the bearded sage he later became.

0:53:250:53:28

It was his first big orchestral success,

0:53:280:53:31

just before the unification of Germany.

0:53:310:53:33

I love the fact it's in his own language and I think

0:53:330:53:37

that's such a model for what came afterwards,

0:53:370:53:39

right the way up to Britten.

0:53:390:53:41

It's become a sort of...almost a folk Requiem for the Germans

0:53:410:53:45

Everybody knows it, everybody has sung in it.

0:53:450:53:48

It's a consolation, a reminder that we live such a short time

0:53:570:54:03

And we don't understand why we're here or where we're going to.

0:54:030:54:08

The first movement feels to me

0:54:170:54:19

so similar to the Mozart in what he's trying to create.

0:54:190:54:23

He has only the low strings playing,

0:54:250:54:27

so no violins at all in that movement.

0:54:270:54:29

Grand in the sense that you have a chorus and orchestra there,

0:54:290:54:32

but intensely private at the same time,

0:54:320:54:34

because it's so undemonstrative and it's completely magical.

0:54:340:54:39

# Selig sind... #

0:54:420:54:50

There is something warming about it,

0:54:500:54:52

and the voices coming together unaccompanied as well.

0:54:520:54:55

The private little prayer at the start.

0:54:550:54:58

# Selig sind

0:54:580:55:04

# Die da Leid tragen

0:55:040:55:16

# Denn sie sollen getrostet

0:55:160:55:24

# Getrostet werden. #

0:55:240:55:31

It's a very expressive interpretation of the text.

0:55:310:55:34

"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."

0:55:340:55:39

# Selig sind

0:55:390:55:46

# Selig sind

0:55:480:55:53

# Die da Leid

0:55:560:56:02

# Da Leid tragen

0:56:030:56:11

# Denn sie sollen getrostet

0:56:180:56:30

# Getrostet werden

0:56:320:56:39

# Die mit Tranen... #

0:56:450:56:49

It moves on, then, with the men talking about the tears

0:56:490:56:52

and living through their tears but it's still got this

0:56:520:56:55

sort of tension between the voices, if you like.

0:56:550:56:58

# Die mit Tranen saen... #

0:56:580:57:05

# Werden mit Freuden ernten Mit Freuden

0:57:130:57:16

# Mit Freuden... Mit Freuden..

0:57:160:57:19

# Mit Freuden ernten. #

0:57:310:57:37

It's interesting that he uses the word "Requiem".

0:57:400:57:43

Yes, as if he wants to do something that is very much

0:57:450:57:50

rooted in a tradition without committing himself to the dogma

0:57:500:57:55

So, is it a Requiem at all?

0:57:550:57:58

You can name it Requiem. He did ..

0:58:000:58:05

TRANSLATION:

0:58:070:58:11

Brahms made Requiems respectable for Protestants.

0:58:190:58:23

But even that took time.

0:58:230:58:25

The Anglican church had been nervous of anything that

0:58:250:58:28

smacked of Popery - it took 50 years for the Faure Requiem

0:58:280:58:31

to get a British performance,

0:58:310:58:33

and there were virtually no homegrown Requiems.

0:58:330:58:36

Praying for the dead was pointless and wrong. God's judgment was final.

0:58:360:58:41

To suggest that we human beings

0:58:420:58:44

could expedite someone's passage towards heaven,

0:58:440:58:47

or save them from a passage towards hell,

0:58:470:58:50

that was blasphemous and unacceptable -

0:58:500:58:52

you couldn't make a difference, and it's sometimes been rather brutally

0:58:520:58:56

put, by Calvinists especially,

0:58:560:58:58

picking up the Biblical phrase

0:58:580:59:00

"Where the tree falls, there let it lie".

0:59:000:59:03

In the 20th century, there were too many fallen trees.

0:59:130:59:17

The Requiem tide was hard to resist.

0:59:170:59:20

In the aftermath of war, there were moves to allow prayers for the dead.

0:59:200:59:24

The Large World Requiem, by John Foulds,

0:59:270:59:30

was heard on Armistice Day four years in a row.

0:59:300:59:34

The words "Lord, grant them rest" met a clear public need.

0:59:340:59:37

The crucial period was the First World War.

0:59:470:59:50

That's when unexpected violent death hit almost every household

0:59:500:59:55

in the land, and somehow it wasn't quite enough to go on

0:59:551:00:00

with the old prayer book liturgy,

1:00:001:00:02

people wanted to express their bond with the departed in a Christian way.

1:00:021:00:06

And that's when, I think,

1:00:071:00:09

prayers for the dead began to come into the mainstream.

1:00:091:00:12

Possibly the biggest single change in the Christian culture

1:00:121:00:15

of Britain in the 20th century

1:00:151:00:17

For years, people in Britain had happily said "rest in peace",

1:00:241:00:28

or just "R-I-P",

1:00:281:00:29

as if unaware that this itself was a prayer for the dead.

1:00:291:00:33

When Benjamin Britten wrote his War Requiem for the rebuilt

1:00:371:00:40

Coventry Cathedral after the Second World War,

1:00:401:00:43

he used the Latin text of the Requiem Mass.

1:00:431:00:46

This time, it drew no protest.

1:00:461:00:48

The War Requiem,

1:01:161:01:17

when I first heard it, I heard it by accident when I was very small,

1:01:171:01:21

because I walked in on a rehearsal at Hereford Cathedral.

1:01:211:01:25

I remember being blown away by this rehearsal.

1:01:251:01:28

I didn't know what this music was.

1:01:281:01:30

After the nationalism of Cherubini, Berlioz, Brahms and Verdi,

1:01:321:01:37

Britten's agenda was also political, but international.

1:01:371:01:40

As a confirmed pacifist,

1:01:491:01:51

Britten wove into the Latin text the English war poetry of Wilfred Owen.

1:01:511:01:56

The Requiem had become a public commentary on world events -

1:01:561:01:59

at the height of the Cold War,

1:01:591:02:01

when memories of both world wars were still fresh.

1:02:011:02:04

It's the most remarkable modern. .

1:02:071:02:11

I'm almost tempted to say "riff" on the theme of Requiem

1:02:111:02:14

It's doing something very different,

1:02:141:02:16

yet drawing very deeply from the tradition.

1:02:161:02:19

The Day Of Wrath, the Dies Irae

1:02:231:02:25

is not encountered at the judgment seat, but on the battlefield.

1:02:251:02:28

For Britten, the chain of inspiration links him

1:02:281:02:31

directly to the drama of Giuseppe Verdi.

1:02:311:02:35

We think of course of the Dies Irae

1:02:351:02:37

as the defining moment of any Requiem, I think,

1:02:371:02:41

and his moments are just as huge and overwhelming

1:02:411:02:45

as those incredible bass drum moments are in Verdi

1:02:451:02:49

The Libera Me is a prayer to be spared the terrible day of judgment,

1:03:101:03:14

calamity and bitterness.

1:03:141:03:16

But in Britten's Requiem, there is no mercy -

1:03:161:03:19

the earth really does shake,

1:03:191:03:21

and you almost choke on the stench of slaughter and cordite

1:03:211:03:24

in Flanders, and the wailing of troops begging to be spared.

1:03:241:03:29

You really do sense that people are...shattered by it,

1:03:401:03:46

because they are confronted in such a direct way with...

1:03:461:03:51

the great truths of life, death, who we're going to kill

1:03:511:03:57

who we're going to spare.

1:03:571:03:59

You can't get bigger questions than this.

1:03:591:04:01

Britten finally offers release through Wilfred Owen's poem

1:04:051:04:09

Strange Meeting, when two soldiers, one British, one German,

1:04:091:04:13

meet "down some profound dull tunnel" after their deaths.

1:04:131:04:17

# It seemed that out of battle

1:04:191:04:26

# I escaped... #

1:04:261:04:30

When the War Requiem came my way for the first time

1:04:321:04:36

I don't know if you remember,

1:04:361:04:39

but on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.

1:04:391:04:45

And the atmosphere in the hall that night was electric.

1:04:461:04:51

People drove to the concert,

1:04:511:04:53

hearing on their car radios what was going on in Berlin that minute

1:04:531:04:58

and then we performed, unforgettably,

1:04:581:05:01

you know, "I am the enemy you killed, my friend".

1:05:011:05:05

# I am the enemy you killed

1:05:091:05:16

# My friend. #

1:05:161:05:19

Nobody who was in the hall that night, whether performer or audience,

1:05:211:05:24

will ever forget it, and people still talk about it

1:05:241:05:27

I think it will always be remembered alongside Berlioz

1:05:321:05:36

and Verdi and Faure and Mozart

1:05:361:05:39

It holds its place in the pantheon of noble Requiems

1:05:391:05:46

Do you think a composer has to be a Christian

1:05:511:05:54

to write a Requiem successfully

1:05:541:05:56

I don't think there is an absolute requirement.

1:05:591:06:04

I think an agnostic like Britten,

1:06:041:06:07

although a very religiously informed agnostic, can write something

1:06:071:06:12

which is very powerful.

1:06:121:06:14

It speaks so deeply of the futility and the evil of war.

1:06:201:06:27

If that doesn't speak of a profound question of faith,

1:06:301:06:34

then I don't know what does.

1:06:341:06:37

Britten ends his requiem by going back in the tradition

1:06:441:06:47

to the elemental power of unaccompanied voices.

1:06:471:06:50

# Dies Irae... #

1:06:521:06:55

Unlike Britten, the Italian Ildebrando Pizzetti

1:07:011:07:05

was a devout believer, and his unaccompanied voices hark even

1:07:051:07:09

further back - to plainsong - but with a modern twist.

1:07:091:07:13

I love the fact that you've got the lower voices singing

1:07:221:07:25

the plainchant, if you like.

1:07:251:07:27

It's like a sort of funeral march,

1:07:271:07:29

and then you've got the lamenting higher voices, weeping.

1:07:291:07:32

Pizzetti - a contemporary of Stravinsky - was another opera

1:07:471:07:51

composer, but his sense of drama is focused on the voices alone.

1:07:511:07:55

Strange keening harmonies...

1:08:021:08:07

You expect something that's just

1:08:071:08:10

for unaccompanied choir to be more formal, but this is so expressive.

1:08:101:08:16

The 17 movements of the Polish Requiem emerged across

1:08:341:08:37

a quarter of a century from the contemporary composer

1:08:371:08:40

Krzysztof Penderecki - himself a practising Roman Catholic.

1:08:401:08:44

It's a commentary on modern Polish history,

1:08:461:08:50

from the Warsaw Uprising to the death of the Polish pope.

1:08:501:08:54

# Lacrimosa

1:08:541:09:00

# Lacrimosa

1:09:021:09:07

# Lacrimosa... #

1:09:081:09:14

The Lacrimosa - the Day Of Tears - was the first.

1:09:171:09:21

It commemorates the anti-government protesters killed

1:09:211:09:24

at the Gdansk Shipyard and elsewhere in 1970.

1:09:241:09:27

# Lacrimosa... #

1:09:341:09:37

Penderecki included the full Dies Irae, even though by this stage

1:09:411:09:46

the Church had watered down its focus on the Day of Judgment.

1:09:461:09:49

The second Vatican Council dropped the Dies Irae and discouraged

1:09:591:10:04

the use of black vestments so that the funeral liturgy,

1:10:041:10:08

the Requiem Liturgy,

1:10:081:10:10

could be restored to some kind of Easter feeling.

1:10:101:10:13

And then you had the risk,

1:10:131:10:17

and sometimes the reality,

1:10:171:10:19

of a slightly bland, slightly sentimental,

1:10:191:10:22

"It's all all right and daddy's gone to be an angel" kind of approach.

1:10:221:10:26

So there are those who I think would want to bring back

1:10:261:10:30

that element of starkness.

1:10:301:10:32

Let's say starkness, at least, rather than gloom or gothic blackness

1:10:321:10:37

Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return

1:10:451:10:50

For we go down to the dust, and weeping over the grave,

1:10:501:10:54

we make our song.

1:10:541:10:56

The starkness of an epic life or death struggle

1:11:021:11:06

was what appealed to Berlioz.

1:11:061:11:08

In his view of the Day Of Tears there is no holding back.

1:11:081:11:12

I've always thought the Lacrimosa

1:11:151:11:17

is a greater movement than the Tuba Mirum.

1:11:171:11:20

I think it's more original and more remarkable and more powerful.

1:11:201:11:25

His Lacrimosa is one of the great pieces.

1:11:321:11:36

The human race being lashed to the abyss!

1:11:431:11:47

Berlioz found the musical ideas coming so thick and fast

1:12:051:12:08

he thought his head would burst

1:12:081:12:10

He developed a form of shorthand to avoid forgetting them

1:12:121:12:15

before he could scribble them down.

1:12:151:12:17

I think he thought, if I'm going to write a Requiem

1:12:451:12:48

there will never have been anything like it before. Nor after!

1:12:481:12:53

The Berlioz Requiem is thrilling in its majesty and daring,

1:13:091:13:13

but probably not a piece you'd want at a time of grief and mourning

1:13:131:13:17

Perhaps that is why Gabriel Faure, as a church musician,

1:13:201:13:23

looked the other way.

1:13:231:13:25

There are certainly specific numbers in specific pieces that seem

1:13:251:13:29

to trigger a very strong emotion with people,

1:13:291:13:33

the most obvious one being the Pie Jesu in the Faure Requiem -

1:13:331:13:38

you see a lot of people clutching hands

1:13:381:13:41

with the people they've come with, sometimes weeping quite openly

1:13:411:13:46

It doesn't have the gesture of a Verdi or a Berlioz,

1:13:461:13:50

or even a Britten, but it soothes,

1:13:501:13:53

and that has to be one of the basic needs that we have from a Requiem.

1:13:531:13:58

# Pie Jesu domine

1:13:581:14:07

# Dona eis requiem

1:14:091:14:17

# Dona eis requiem. #

1:14:191:14:28

Many composers have set these words,

1:14:321:14:35

but as his teacher Saint-Saens said, there's only one Pie Jesu.

1:14:351:14:39

This plea to Jesus actually belongs to the Dies Irae,

1:14:391:14:43

but Faure followed Cherubini's example and set it separately.

1:14:431:14:47

# Pie Jesu Domine

1:14:481:14:58

# Dona eis requiem

1:14:581:15:09

# Dona eis requiem... #

1:15:091:15:20

It seems as though you should be able to sing it in your sleep,

1:15:201:15:23

and it requires an immense amount of breath control,

1:15:231:15:26

but the joy of it is to make it sound as though it's easy,

1:15:261:15:29

just a prayer that you're singing from the heart.

1:15:291:15:32

# Sempiternam

1:15:321:15:38

# Requiem

1:15:381:15:43

# Sempiternam

1:15:431:15:49

# Requiem

1:15:491:15:57

# Pie Jesu... #

1:15:571:16:08

It's on another scale, isn't it That's a very private...

1:16:081:16:12

..piece.

1:16:141:16:16

Done well, it's very beautiful

1:16:171:16:19

# Dona eis

1:16:191:16:31

# Sempiternam... #

1:16:311:16:33

Faure sees death and the afterlife in a much more welcoming sense

1:16:331:16:40

whereas in many Requiems,

1:16:401:16:42

there's a sort of sombre silence at the end,

1:16:421:16:46

you wind down to a point

1:16:461:16:48

where you sort of look thoughtfully into the darkness

1:16:481:16:51

# Requiem... #

1:16:511:16:55

Faure tilts it upwards a bit.

1:16:551:16:58

# Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna

1:17:101:17:13

# In die illa tremenda

1:17:131:17:17

# Quando coeli

1:17:171:17:20

# Movendi sunt et terra... #

1:17:201:17:28

Whatever Giuseppe Verdi believed lay in store,

1:17:281:17:31

his Requiem drives remorselessly to the end.

1:17:311:17:34

The final movement, Libera Me, was actually the first bit he wrote,

1:17:341:17:38

as his contribution to an earlier Requiem for Rossini,

1:17:381:17:42

each movement from a different Italian composer.

1:17:421:17:45

# Dum veneris iudicare saeculum per ignem... #

1:17:451:17:53

That project never came off, so Verdi expanded his piece

1:17:541:17:58

into a Requiem for another Italian hero,

1:17:581:18:01

the novelist and poet Alessandro Manzoni,

1:18:011:18:04

just after the unification of Italy in 1870.

1:18:041:18:07

If those composers had written their pieces... Did they? Yes.

1:18:081:18:13

..Verdi looked at them and thought, "My God. Mine stands out.

1:18:131:18:16

"It's much better than theirs. I'm going to write the whole thing."

1:18:161:18:19

Its first performance WAS liturgical,

1:18:191:18:22

part of a service at St Mark's Church in Milan.

1:18:221:18:25

Special permission was required for women singers to take part

1:18:251:18:30

Verdi was no friend of the Church hierarchy

1:18:301:18:32

and bent the rules to get his way.

1:18:321:18:34

TRANSLATED FROM ITALIAN:

1:18:371:18:40

# Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna

1:18:561:19:00

# In die illa tremenda

1:19:001:19:04

# Quando coeli... #

1:19:041:19:08

This is opera.

1:19:081:19:09

And dramatic opera.

1:19:111:19:13

# Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna

1:19:151:19:19

# In die illa tremenda

1:19:191:19:22

# Libera me, Domine... #

1:19:221:19:24

Yes, it is operatic, it is dramatic. It's certainly not liturgical.

1:19:241:19:30

# Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna

1:19:301:19:34

# In die illa tremenda... #

1:19:341:19:37

How far is it Christian? Well, it is very hard to say.

1:19:371:19:40

But I think, like others,

1:19:401:19:42

I'd probably give it the benefit of the doubt

1:19:421:19:44

so far as to say, why not in a church?

1:19:441:19:47

I've heard it very effectively in Canterbury Cathedral.

1:19:471:19:50

# Libera me

1:19:501:19:54

# Domine, de morte

1:19:541:19:57

# De morte aeterna... #

1:19:571:20:01

People often criticise the Verdi Requiem for being operatic.

1:20:011:20:04

That's ridiculous.

1:20:041:20:06

I mean, the text is itself theatrical. And...

1:20:081:20:13

..that's the way he wrote music and I...

1:20:181:20:21

It never feels like that at all

1:20:211:20:23

# Domine

1:20:231:20:27

# Domine... #

1:20:271:20:34

"An opera in ecclesiastical garb"

1:20:361:20:38

was how some critics described it at the time.

1:20:381:20:41

Not that it particularly bothered Verdi.

1:20:411:20:44

As the great opera composer that Verdi was,

1:20:441:20:47

there is the smell of greasepaint in it.

1:20:471:20:50

But I would not say that that is in any way an insult,

1:20:501:20:53

even if it was meant to be one

1:20:531:20:55

I think it IS a religious peace

1:20:551:20:56

I just think Verdi allowed himself his full wealth

1:20:561:21:00

and range of expression, and that gave us...

1:21:001:21:03

Well, it gave composers an incredible model

1:21:031:21:05

for the next 140 years.

1:21:051:21:07

It set another pattern for the future

1:21:091:21:11

as it became the first Requiem to set off round the world.

1:21:111:21:15

Berlioz had only four or five performances of his Requiem

1:21:151:21:18

during his entire life.

1:21:181:21:19

But Verdi saw his as a commercial proposition.

1:21:191:21:23

Verdi wanted to have control on the conducting of the work

1:21:231:21:29

and he wanted it to be performed in front of large audiences.

1:21:291:21:33

And he took it on tour in France, in Italy, in England,

1:21:331:21:37

and also in Germany.

1:21:371:21:39

The concert Requiem had come of age.

1:21:461:21:49

The Church could no longer hold people in thrall,

1:21:491:21:52

terrified by the Day Of Judgment.

1:21:521:21:55

Instead, audiences were thrilled by the way composers treated it

1:21:551:21:58

and enjoyed it.

1:21:581:22:00

Music, once the servant of the Church's Requiem,

1:22:001:22:03

was now its master.

1:22:031:22:05

None more so than Verdi's.

1:22:051:22:07

# Domine

1:22:071:22:12

# Libera me... #

1:22:121:22:17

It's more shattering than the Berlioz Requiem

1:22:171:22:19

because the Berlioz Requiem ends with a kind of resignation,

1:22:191:22:24

I think, doesn't it, an acceptance,

1:22:241:22:27

whereas the Verdi Requiem ends

1:22:271:22:29

with just the whole world given over to the flames.

1:22:291:22:34

It's shattering.

1:22:341:22:36

CHOIR SINGS IN THE ROUND

1:22:361:22:39

# Libera me

1:22:501:22:58

# Domine... #

1:22:581:23:07

He saw a Requiem as a dramatic opportunity

1:23:111:23:15

to portray an epic battle between life and death,

1:23:151:23:20

with no very clear answer as to which one ultimately will win.

1:23:201:23:25

This text of the Requiem

1:23:291:23:31

produced some of the greatest music that we have

1:23:311:23:35

I mean, Verdi's Requiem towers above..

1:23:361:23:39

..all the other things he did.

1:23:411:23:43

# Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna

1:23:461:23:50

# In die illa tremenda... #

1:23:501:23:55

It sums up the piece, doesn't it?

1:23:551:23:58

"Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna."

1:23:581:24:01

"Release me from eternal death.

1:24:041:24:07

# Libera me... #

1:24:081:24:18

Mozart, Verdi and Berlioz, they all shared the same problem.

1:24:181:24:23

They were brought up as children to be Catholics.

1:24:231:24:27

They fell foul of the Church one way or another.

1:24:271:24:32

But they never forgot what it was like to believe

1:24:321:24:37

and they never forgot what it was like to be afraid of death.

1:24:371:24:41

If you were planning your own funeral... Yes.

1:24:411:24:44

..and you had the chance of having a Requiem,

1:24:441:24:47

which one would you choose and why? Well, I would have...

1:24:471:24:51

..maybe a potpourri.

1:24:521:24:54

I think I would go for the C major quintet of Mozart!

1:24:541:24:59

Rather than a gigantic Requiem

1:25:001:25:03

Definitely the Libera Me from Faure.

1:25:031:25:07

I certainly don't think my widow would thank me

1:25:071:25:10

for making her hire a whole orchestra and chorus to sing Verdi.

1:25:101:25:15

Plainsong works for me, I have to confess.

1:25:151:25:17

Yes, plainsong and a bit of Byrd.

1:25:171:25:19

Since I've only got one death, you know.

1:25:191:25:21

If you had more than one, you could go out to the Dies Irae,

1:25:211:25:26

or God Save The Queen, or whatever you wanted to have

1:25:261:25:30

Maybe those last amazing chords from the Britten Requiem.

1:25:301:25:34

My own father wanted the Recordare

1:25:341:25:37

from the Mozart Requiem played at his.

1:25:371:25:40

Um...

1:25:401:25:42

And so we did.

1:25:421:25:44

Did that for him.

1:25:441:25:46

MUSIC: "Recordare"

1:25:461:25:49

That, for him, was the heart of the Requiem.

1:25:491:25:53

Not the Dies Irae, not even the Lacrimosa, but the Recordare.

1:25:531:25:56

I love that, and I always think of my Dad, actually,

1:26:021:26:04

every time I do that now.

1:26:041:26:06

So, maybe that'll do.

1:26:061:26:08

Just that one little movement. Maybe I'll have that at my funeral too.

1:26:081:26:11

Thanks, Dad. Good idea.

1:26:111:26:14

CHOIR SINGS IN THE ROUND

1:26:141:26:16

I think the power invested in the music which clothes these texts

1:26:341:26:39

is so compelling

1:26:391:26:41

that it forces people to think about what it's about

1:26:411:26:46

And...

1:26:461:26:48

..we know just as little about death as they did.

1:26:501:26:53

THEY SING IN THE ROUND

1:26:531:26:56

I don't think a listener needs to be religious

1:27:041:27:07

to appreciate what a Requiem is

1:27:071:27:09

and the fervour and the sense of loss, both collective and personal,

1:27:091:27:14

and the sense of the soothing of what that music can do.

1:27:141:27:18

But if you ARE a believer, it certainly helps.

1:27:261:27:30

Whether you believe that there is an afterlife

1:27:361:27:38

or even whether there is a God

1:27:381:27:41

the one thing you have to believe in...

1:27:411:27:44

..is death.

1:27:451:27:47

THEY SING IN THE ROUND

1:27:471:27:50

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

1:28:451:28:50

From plainsong to Penderecki, this film for Remembrance Sunday shows how music has shaped the requiem over 500 years. John Bridcut explores the significance and history of one of the oldest musical forms and discusses its enduring appeal with some of its greatest exponents.

The great requiems of Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi and Fauré have been rooted in the Latin requiem mass of the Roman Catholic Church. But now, thanks to Brahms and Britten, the requiem has spread into other Christian traditions, producing some of the finest classical music ever written.

This feature-length documentary has specially-shot musical performances by the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (conducted by Edward Gardner), with sopranos Elin Manahan Thomas and Annemarie Kremer, and bass-baritone Neal Davies. It also features the choir Tenebrae, conducted by Nigel Short. Contributors include the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the conductors Sir Colin Davis and Jane Glover, and the bass-baritone Bryn Terfel.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS