“The choristers sang as one voice with precise timing and articulation”
South Coast Today
12 February 2013
(Haydn The Creation)



 






Dan Forrest
Dan Forrest  |  Requiem for the Living

A Requiem, at its core, is a prayer for rest — traditionally, for the deceased. The five movements of Requiem for the Living, however, form a narrative just as much for the living, and their own struggle with pain and sorrow, as for the dead.

The opening movement sets the traditional Introit and Kyrie texts — pleas for rest and mercy — using ever-increasing elaborations on a simple three-note descending motive. The second movement, instead of the traditional Dies Irae, sets Scriptural texts that speak of the turmoil and sorrow which face humanity, while yet invoking musical and textual allusions to the Dies Irae. This movement juxtaposes aggressive rhythmic gestures with long, floating melodic lines, including quotes of the Kyrie from the first movement.

The Agnus Dei is performed next (a departure from the usual liturgical order) as a plea for deliverance and peace; the Sanctus, following it, becomes a response to this redemption. The Sanctus offers three different glimpses of the “heavens and earth, full of Thy glory,” all of which develop the same musical motive: an ethereal opening section inspired by images of space from the Hubble Space Telescope, a stirring middle section inspired by images of our own planet as viewed from the International Space Station, and a closing section which brings the listener down to Earth, where cities teem with the energy of humanity.

The Lux Aeterna which then closes the work portrays light, peace, and rest — for both the deceased and the living.

— Dan Forrest

Requiem for the Living was commissioned by the Hickory (N.C.) Choral Society. The work was written over a period of 16 months in 2012-2013.


Requiem for the Living  (2013)

The traditional texts have been re-arranged slightly, with some extra-liturgical texts added. The traditional Dies Irae has been replaced by an essay on the vanity and pain of existence. The two movements which then follow have been inverted from their usual order: the Agnus Dei is offered as a prayer to the Lamb of God for an answer to that pain and sorrow, and the Sanctus then follows as an awe-inspired response.

Introit – Kyrie (Chorus)
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet. Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.

Introit – Kyrie (Chorus)
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Hear my prayer, for unto Thee all flesh shall come. Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy; Lord have mercy.

Vanitas Vanitatum (Chorus)
Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas!
Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.
Lacrimosa, et locutus est, pereat dies in qua natus sum.

Vanitas Vanitatum (Chorus)
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!
Merciful Lord Jesus, grant them rest.
Full of tears, he said, Let the day perish wherein I was born.

Agnus Dei (Soprano solo and chorus)
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis, dona eis requiem.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem, miserere nobis, dona eis requiem.

Agnus Dei (Soprano solo and chorus)
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; grant them rest.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace; have mercy on us; grant them rest.

Sanctus (Chorus)
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis!

Sanctus (Chorus)
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest!

Lux Aeterna (Soprano solo and chorus)
Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum: quia pius es. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

(Tenor solo)
Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

(Chorus and soprano solo)
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Dona nobis pacem.

Lux Aeterna (Soprano solo and chorus)
May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord, in the company of Thy saints forever: for Thou art merciful. Let perpetual light shine on them.

(Tenor Solo)
Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

(Chorus and soprano solo)
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Grant us peace.