Welcome to the Requiem Web

by

Charles Cave in Sydney, Australia


Welcome to the web site that tells you everything you need to know about one of my favourite musical forms - the Requiem Mass! You don't need to be morbid or religious to get excited about requiems. Composers throughout the centuries have written profound pieces of music utilising the Mass for the Dead.

A little bit about myself: I work in the computer software industry, and have no training in music with the exception of learning piano in my younger days and singing in the school choir before my voice broke. I was raised in the Protestant church, so I would value feedback from Roman Catholics who can help with my understanding of the Mass.

My interest in the musical setting of the Mass was sparked in 1978 when I saw Lindsay Anderson's film "If" (first released in 1968). The plot involved a revolution in an English public school, starred Malcolm MacDowell and featured an unusual but haunting sound track: Missa Luba - A Mass in Pure Congolese style. When I started working in 1979, I mentioned this music to an older colleague who had this record in his collection. He kindly recorded the album and I played it frequently. The "Sanctus" section was featured in the film, and is a superb piece of music. I've typed out the cassette notes for this recording.

This colleague suggested I listen to Benjamin Britten's War Requiem and kindly recorded the work for me. The performance he recorded was the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Britten with the superb voices of Galina Vishnevskaya, Peter Pears, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I now have the CD set of this performance, as well as recordings by Richard Hickox and Simon Rattle.

Over the last twenty years, I have always been curious about Requiems, and my collection has reached the point where I wanted to research the subject and publish my findings on the World Wide Web. Researching, analysing and writing about a piece of music is a great way for a music amateur such as myself to maximise appreciation for a piece of music.

I have an amusing story about Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem. A woman (probably in her late 20's) was browsing in a music shop. She wanted to buy Webber's Requiem because she liked Placido Domingo's voice, and wanted to use it at her wedding! Then she asked the assistant what a requiem was, and I couldn't resist butting in to inform her that it was a mass sung for the dead, and maybe not appropriate for a wedding. I suggested the more popular works, but she wanted something different. I wonder what music she eventually used?

I trust that you find this web site educational and interesting, and I value your feedback.

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Last updated: 8th June 1997