The John Rutter requiem

Rutter was born in 1945

john rutter requiemI am a sucker for a good requiem. The John Rutter Requiem is one of my two favorites.

I’ve sung the Mozart, Faure, Durufle requiems, and probably a couple more. There’s often a certain pattern, to which the composer may add or leave out. The Wikipedia discussion is useful.

I must admit that the Verdi Dies Irae, a theme that shows up repeatedly in the piece, is both one of the most recognized and my favorite single two-minute musical pieces.

While I’ve never performed the Brahms German requiem, my former church choir has sung the fourth movement quite frequently, in English. One of my favorite people at my old church wants the choir to sing How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place at their funeral.

Published in 1985

Still, the Rutter as a whole touches me greatly. Requiem aeternam, the first movement, “opens with a steady beat of the tympani, to which instruments enter, first without a defined key.” And I think I like the musical uncertainty

The second movement, Out of the Deep, begins with a cello solo; I love a good cello solo. The voices join, and they’re low in the register as well. The text is from Psalm 130; I’ve learned that the text is commonly used at Anglican funerals. The quartet from my choir sang it in the autumn of 2021. Ultimately, this could be transformed into a blues piece, and I can hear it clearly that way.

Pie Jesu is the third movement, featuring the soprano, then the chorus. It includes the prayer to Jesus for rest.

The fourth movement, Sanctus, is ” 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 6, and the worship of the six-winged seraphim in the heavenly throne-room of God.”

Choirs I’ve been in have performed The Lord Is My Shepherd, the sixth movement. The text, of course, is Psalm 23, scripture commonly used at many funerals.

Finally, Lux aeterna, for soprano and solo, “includes words from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer Burial Service (‘I heard a voice from heaven…’)”

The recording I own is this one.

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