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Funeral requiems

Requiems are pieces of music specifically composed as funeral nusic. Their length, paradoxically, means they are not suitable for most people's funerals in their entirety.

They contain the most profound and glorious pieces of music, designed to mark the end of life and the journey to another place.  Emotions you will hear include sadness, grief, hope, contemplation, wonder…

So if you want your ending to be marked by the playing of truly unforgettable music, listen to the requiems written by the following composers and select the piece you want played.  Add it to your funeral playlist and put it in your Lifebox as part of funeral wishes list.

Hector Berlioz

The work of a genius at the zenith of his powers. Listen to all 80 minutes and be spellbound by its beauty, drama and breadth of vision. The Kyrie and Sanctus are unforgettable and Agnus Dei spellbinding.  Huge volumes of sound give the Dies Irae the wow factor.  The Rex Tremendae and the Lacrymosa are also dramatic. Most majestic are the Hostias. 

Maurice Durufle

Exquisite and understated (and underrated) early 20th century French masterpiece.  It transforms Gregorian chants into a profound and complex piece of music. Beautiful throughout though Domine Jesu Christe, Sanctus, Libera Me and In Paradisum are exceptionally glorious.

Gabriel Faure

Elegant, subtle and sublime. No more perfect a send-off...and rightly the most popular requiem. Faure’s understated masterpiece has an ethereal, moving beauty whether performed in one of its orchestral versions or simply with organ accompaniment. Note the lyrical Pie Jesu and the transcendent In Paradisum, with its soaring vocal line and murmuring harp accompaniment.

Karl Jenkins

This postmodern classic, first performed in 2005, interpolates the usual movements of the Requiem Mass with a series of Japanese haiku settings. As the work progresses the contrasting spheres move closer together, with the last two haiku settings appearing in the Benedictus and Agnus Dei. The instrumentation adopts a deliberate oriental air which makes this particularly unusual and appealing.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

When premiered in 1985 Lloyd Webber’s requiem showed his ability to write serious music in the English choral tradition while retaining some rock-inspired moments such as the Hosanna where drums, synthesizer, saxophone and piano are featured. Its justified acclaim and popularity in the intervening years make a mockery of the critics' petty reviews when it was first released.  Pie Jesu is the stand out song.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

His last work and finished by his pupil Sussmayr, it is a serious, complex  and intensely beautiful piece of music suited to a large Gothic church setting. Listen in particular to Lacrimosa, Amen, Benedictus, Hostias and Agnes Dei.

John Rutter

A modern American masterpiece, finished in 1985. Optimistic and uplifting in its message of hope and comfort, this was the preferred choice of music at the many memorial services across the USA which followed the 9/11 outrage. The Sanctus and Benedictus are beautiful, Hosanna is exhilarating and Agnus Dei a fragile, sensitive treatment.

Igor Stravinsky

Requiem Canticles (1966) is Stravinsky's last major work, and still demonstrates his remarkable vitality and intensity. Stravinsky is a modernist and not to everyone's taste, but his requiem is am impressive piece, even more so as he was in his 80s when he wrote it. The closing chant has an extraordinary sense of moving on.

Giuseppe Verdi

Described as ‘the most beautiful music for the church that has been produced since the Requiem of Mozart’, this is a wide ranging and hugely impressive choral work which when first played in London had a choir of over 1000. It is full of contrasts so choose the mood you feel most appropriate.

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